Just celebrated Mass here in Rockville Centre on the Feast of The Assumption. Put a few words together for the homily and to bring a bit of mix to the Blog which is always my intention, I’ll share them here. Not so much a flowing piece as a few thoughts. V
Sometimes our relationship as Church with Our Lady is misunderstood.
- People feel we put too much emphasis on her
- Make her like a Fourth Person in an already compicated Mystery of Trinity
- Pray to her as if she were God
In many ways though we have it totally right
- She is one of our own
- In the Irish people referred to her as “A Mhuire” – Mary – first name terms
- Close friendship – friendship as close as it can get – a mother’s friendship/love
- Mary is somoene who knows what we go through.
My mother died just days short of one year ago (August 21st 2009). I miss her. We all do. We went through those days of funeral, wake at home and took comfort from the prayer of the church. People were kind and commented on how well she looked. She did but her looks belied nearly ten years of varying forms of illness – ending with more than a year of Alzheimers.
Statues of Our Lady sometimes make me think of people like my mother and their funerals
I looked at the internet yesterday for images of The Assumption. While varied in style and colour there was a similarity in them all. A woman conquering the clouds – strong, determined, focused, with purpose. A woman drawn to the Heavens, surrounded by Angels, dressed in Marian Blue or Saintly white – no trace of the red vestments of the martyr.
But Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew the day of red vestments too. Days of suffering, uncertainty, frustration, shattered dreams, a seemingly (in the eyes of some) wayward son, hurt as she saw her son hurt, tears as his tears fell in Gethsemane and arms stiffened in grief, as they became the cradle for a body taken from a Cross on an unfriendly hill. Mary knew the difficult days too.
Is it fair to speak of them today? On this day of Assumption, surely we should rejoice in the one proved virtuous – the one given the heroine’s welcome as she is borne shoulder-high to the company of God, to be as one with all that is Holy. Of course we should and must rejoice but so too we must keep this woman real in our prayer, normal, one of ourselves. To lose sight of that could sadly mean a distance. Few of us have ever been or ever will be in the presence of royalty and, if one day we are, there most likely will be an awkwardness about it – “What spoon do I use? How deep must my courtesy be? What title do I use?” No, we feel uncomfortable in such company. We long to be among our own.
That’s where we find The Assumed today – with her own – with her cousin Elizabeth. Why? Because Elizabeth needed her. She stayed about three months – long enough for a baby to be born or, at least, well prepared for. You could imagine your cousin coming like that. Not so easily could we imagine a queen coming to our door. Come she does. Come she will.
We said goodbye to my mother but did not let go. We rememberd her dark days and rejoiced in her bright ones. So many countless acts of kindness for us all. One of our own. That’s the way I want to feel – want us all to feel – about Our Lady today.