Sunday, August 14, 2011
15th August - Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Icon of the Dormition of The Blessed Virgin Mary
In the midst of the summer holidays, a time of rest for man, the Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption in honour of the Virgin Mary. Since the early centuries, the Church perceived that Mary prefigured both the pilgrimage and the final destination which awaits every human being: the assumption of the whole human being into the divine. The personality of Mary incorporates all the believers because she is the Daughter of Zion, the holy Israel from whom the Savior was born, the Church and the Christian community which generates sons and daughters for God beneath the Cross.
Mary assumpted in God remains infinitely human, Mother forever, turned towards the earth, attentive to all the sufferings of man of all time and in all places, ever present during their, often uncertain, pilgrimage on earth.
For the east as well as for the west, the Dormition - Assumption of Mary is a sign of the 'ultimate realities' which are yet to occur. In her we perceive the glorification which awaits the whole cosmos at the end of time when "God will be all in all" (1 Cor 12,28)
The Assumption of Mary is the anticipation of the paschal feast which awaits every believer. It is the assumption of the redempted creature into God, which is parallel with the first and decisive Assumption of the Son into the glory of the Father. The Icon of the Dormition represents these themes. Whilst Mary is represented on the deathbed surrounded by the Apostles, the Christ appears solemnly at the centre of the picture as He holds a little girl full of light in His hands: this is the soul of the Virgin Mother which He is taking with Him to heaven.
This is the hope for all which the liturgy seeks to sing in this feast. The body of the Blessed Virgin Mary transported towards the Light fount and destination of all light is not the devotion of some faithful, but the ultimate fate of the whole cosmos, created by the Uncreated: it is the same body of the earth which transfigured, becomes eucharist, thanksgiving, one with heaven. In the memory of Mary assumpted into heaven, Christians, are invited to transform their holidays into thanksgiving to the Creator and Saviour whilst they contemplate creation.
As we contemplate in faith the final glory to which we are all called, let us remain united with our Blessed Mother in the prayer of the rosary making a special intention for all our suffering brothers and sisters who are feeling weak. Let us help them with prayer. May this feast bring new hope in their hearts and new light in their lives. May they feel the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary right beside them and may her presence keep their faith alive that they may never give up but keep the hope of the coming glory burning in their heart.
Reference has been made to the book "Dare Senso Ai Tempi" by Enzo Bianchi founder of Bose Community