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Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, the church gives us on this Marian feast day a prayer that constitutes the longest string of words from the Blessed Mother’s lips that are recorded in the Gospels. Send your Holy Spirit to help me digest these words and gain some insight into the heart of your mother and mine.
- Holy Haste: With the blessed news of Angel Gabriel still ringing in her ears, Mary set out “in haste” to assist Elizabeth, whom she learned was also pregnant. Since we know that Mary was the most perfect creature ever created, her “haste” was obviously ordained by God’s will. Hers was a “holy haste.” How often do we rush around, full of busyness, feeling overwhelmed by life’s “to dos”? This unholy haste of ours can distract us from God’s will for our life. God has given us twenty-four hours in which to live each day. Are we trying to pack too much activity into each one, requiring us to race through life at an unholy pace, or do we imitate Mary’s docility to God’s will in every moment, especially when he asks us to “slow down”?
- Words to Be Remembered: The Magnificat, Mary’s prayer, is a spiritual masterpiece and, by her example, Mary teaches her children (us) how to pray. Like our mother, we can proclaim that “our spirit rejoices,” because we are full of expectant hope for eternity. We can acknowledge that God has “looked favorably upon” us, because we have been baptized and belong to God’s family. Every day, we can thank God for the great things he has done for us. And we can announce to everyone God’s mercy, which we know is so necessary for our salvation.
- Assumed: We celebrate the Assumption of Mary today, which was proclaimed a dogma of the Church on November 1, 1950, by Pope Pius XII. Reading the words of the Magnificat in light of Mary’s assumption body and soul into heaven brings new insights. She would undoubtedly have been surprised to know, as she praised God through the Magnificat, to what extent he would bless her by raising her directly to heaven one day. And she could not have known that she would become the mother of us all. From her heavenly throne, Mary intercedes for us. May we be delighted upon our death by the blessings Our Lord has in store for his faithful servants.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for revealing to us that Mary, our mother, is with you in heaven. Her assumption fills my heart with hope that one day I too will join you there. By your grace and Mary’s intercession, may we merit such an eternal reward!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will devoutly say a decade of the rosary in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother.
For Further Reflection: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, By Scott Hahn.
Written by Maribeth Harper.