We have such a blessing that in the midst of our summer we can pause and celebrate both hope and joy for life and living. The celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ allows us to recall and enter into the Hope for Life and the Joy of Living.
The truth of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother was already held in belief by early christians long before Pope Pius XII gave the dogmatic proclamation November 1st 1950. She who was known as “Theotokos” the God bearer, was venerated and recognized as having been assumed into heaven as a reward for her faithfulness and willingness to be the New Eve, and the Ark of the New Covenant. Just as the ancient ark which held the tablets of the Law was sacred, how much more would God regard as Sacred the Ark off the new covenant and not allow it to be corrupted. We see in Revelation 11:19 the very Arks:
“God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child…”
Mary’s yes is the very source of our hope. Her willingness to be the mother of the Savior, to give birth to God’s only Son brings God’s plan of salvation to fruition. The Heavenly Father has an eternal plan to bring us home to Him. His Son, Jesus Christ, has been with us and will continue to be with us each step of the way. The means by which God chose to bring us this hope is through Mary, Peter tells us if anyone asks the reason for our hope: 1Peter 3:15. “but sanctify the Lord the Christ in your hearts, and be always prepared to give an answer to every one that asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you,”
Just as Mary availed herself to God’s plan of salvation and her role in it, so to do you and I have the responsibility and call to avail ourselves to God’s will and way that he might use us as he did the Blessed Mother to bring about His plan. For it is here that we find our purpose and our hope for life.
Seeking out God’s plan and will in our lives can also be a source for living in joy. In Mary’s encounter with her kinswoman Elizabeth there is an expression of joy by John the Baptist:
“For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
This is joy for living. At the presence of Mary, Jesus who is in her is the cause for joy of the son that Elizabeth, John and leaps for joy. Joy has an effect on those who experience it. Affecting those around them causes living to be a joyful experience. Elizabeth too experiences the joy expressed by her son. It is felt and shared. What a joy life can be even in the midst of hardships and struggles if only we allow ourselves to be affected by it.
Find in this celebration both hope for life and joy for living!