Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother

AssumBMThe Feast of the Assumption, celebrated every year on August 15, is a very old feast of the Church. It commemorates Mary’s bodily assumption into Heaven. Because it signifies the Blessed Virgin’s passing into eternal life, it is the most important of all Marian feasts and a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics. Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother reminds us that Christ has come, as he says in John’s Gospel, to bring us "life, and life in all its abundance" (John 10:10). He has come with divine power to rule all the nations. Jesus will use his power to give each of his faithful followers the abundance of eternal life in heaven. The first one to receive this gift, proving that this is true, was his most perfect disciple: his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. When her earthly days were over because her mission was completed, Jesus assumed her, lifting her up body and soul, directly into heaven.

The special miracle of the Assumption means to give us renewed hope and comfort amid the difficulties of our earthly pilgrimage. Mary really is our spiritual Mother, we are her children who can look to her for inspiration, help and guidance.

To honor our Mother who was honored by her Son in such a special way is our duty. We must understand that true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary goes beyond merely rattling off a few prayers or kneeling in front of pretty status or pictures. A real devotion to Mary consists of imitating her virtues, and most especially her faith, humility, and obedience to God. She was the "handmaid of the Lord" who has received special graces for believing in God’s words and fulfilling them with lowliness. We must strive to resemble her spiritually.

We, too, must serve God and people. We, too, must do His will.

Saint Dominic or Blessed John Paul II were great lovers of the Blessed Mother. They prayed the Rosary. It has been the favorite prayers that helped them grow closer to God.

And it is an ancient and wise tradition for Catholic families to keep images of the Blessed Virgin in important places around the house – like the dining room or the family room. Wouldn’t it be strange to visit someone’s house and not see any photographs of relatives and family members displayed on the bookshelves or the walls? It is just as strange to find a Catholic home without images of Jesus and Mary – the most important members of our spiritual family.

Jesus would never have given Mary so many special privileges, like the Assumption, if he didn’t want her to be an inspiration, a helper, and a model for our lives.

Keeping our rosaries handy and a few holy images in strategic locations will help remind us of this – and reminders are spiritual lighthouses: they make the difference between shipwreck and smooth sailing.