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Mary, Christ Bearer
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 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.” And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Dear Lord, today is the feast of our Mother’s Assumption into heaven. I am blessed to be able to look at her and contemplate her, and to see in her all the great things you have done. You work in my life through her, through her presence in my life and her intercession, and you still work through her to make yourself present in my life. Help me in this meditation to prepare my heart, so that I can let your mother guide my thoughts, my desires, and the movements of my heart.
- The Infant Leaped: For the feast of the Assumption, the Gospel centers on Mary, the mother of Christ. If we are looking for a way to focus our eyes on Christ today, it is through Mary. As we contemplate this Gospel, which is chosen by the Church to elucidate Mary’s special role in the history of salvation and her meriting the glory of being assumed into heaven, we contemplate the woman who held Jesus Christ in her womb, and one of those first moments in which his presence was made known. Through Mary, John the Baptist recognized the presence of Christ and he leaped for joy. In the person of Mary, Christ was present, and she brought him into the life of her cousin Elizabeth and into the life of the baby, John, in her womb. Mary allows us to encounter Christ. Today, she is still the one who makes that path of encounter with Christ easier. May we encounter Christ through Mary.
- Blessed Are You: In the midst of this encounter, Elizabeth beautifully welcomed Mary, this bearer of the Savior. She did so with great humility, praising the “mother of her Lord.” She felt unworthy to have received such a blessing; she showed us how much we ought to value having Our Lord come and be present to us. She recognized the simple truth that one who brings Christ to others is blessed. Today we can encounter Christ by making Mary present in our life and, like Mary, we can be a source of that blessing in the lives of others. We also recognize that others have been that source of blessing for us.
- My Spirit Rejoices in God: Mary’s response to Elizabeth was a beautiful hymn, the Magnificat, in which she praised God with utmost humility for the great things he had done in her life. Her song carries this strong characteristic: joy. She had every reason to be overflowing with joy. She expressed gratitude that should be present in the life of every Christian: that Christ has chosen to come and live inside of us. The Son of God is present in our life—that is the source of joy for us. He is with us everywhere we go. He deigns to be with us even if we are small and unworthy, lowly and poor, and that gives us uncontainable joy. In the midst of a life that can be difficult and painful, Mary teaches us the fundamental attitude of Christians: an attitude of joy, of considering oneself abundantly blessed by a loving God.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I long to take this message to heart today. Let me slow down my thoughts so these truths can penetrate my heart and transform it. I am touched by your presence, which your mother has brought into my life. Thanks to Mary, I have you here close to me. That presence is the source of immense blessing in my life. Help me to see how blessed my life is. Help me to see that, especially in the midst of all the difficulties I’m going through now. Help me to really experience, as Mary, Elizabeth, and John did, the tremendous joy of knowing you are with me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will try to be joyful and share that joy with others, through a smile, a kind word, or an act of service.
For Further Reflection: The Reed of God, by Caryll Houselander.
Father Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and since then has been working as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. During his years of formation and as a priest, he has worked extensively with youth and offers constant pastoral care to families.