A Mother in Times of Need
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of His testament was seen in His temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”(Apocalypse 11:19-12:1).
The tomb was empty. The light poured in from the opened door, but it did not shine on a body. The rays fell on the bed where she had lain. Her body was gone. In its place were lilies and roses. It should not surprise us that our Lord would raise his mother from the dead, nor that he would prevent death to corrupt her. The resurrection of body and soul is promised to all of Christ’s followers. She was the holiest and the first to follow. As Christians, we all need to nurture in our hearts a deep reverence for the Blessed Virgin. Christ gave His Church a mother, and she is our solace and comfort.
“Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42).
What does it mean that Mary is blessed among women? In scriptural language, this means she is the most holy woman in history. No human person attained so much favor in God’s eyes as this young woman. The Ark of the Covenant contained God’s shekem, His glory. No man was worthy to touch it. If he did so he would be struck down immediately. Yet, the Mother of God was so righteous that she was able to contain God Himself in her womb. When Moses looked at God’s brightness, he trembled with fear. The Mother of God held God in her arms, nursed him with her breast, and held his hand when he took his first human steps. The Son of God submitted to Mary, he obeyed her when he turned water to wine, and he gave her over to the Church as our Mother while he hung dying on the cross. Truly, she is blessed among women, and she deserves our deep devotion.
From beginning to end, the Holy Scriptures praise our Blessed Mother. God spoke of Mary in the garden, saying to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15). In the Book of Judith, Ozias prophesied about the Blessed Virgin: “Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies” (13:23). Finally, in the Book of Revelation, St. John describes Mary as Queen of Heaven with a crown of stars, who gave birth to the Son who will rule the earth.
As a protestant, I did not understand honor for the Blessed Virgin. Should we not honor God alone? This is clearly unscriptural and unsound. We worship God alone, but we honor His servants. Boaz praised Ruth saying, “Blessed are you of the Lord.” Our Lord praised St. Peter declaring, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona.” Abraham bowed down to the sons of Hamor. Jacob bowed down to an angel of God. They did not worship, but they venerated. Without any reserve, at the core of our being, we should live lives praising the Blessed Mother.
A friend of mine once made an ugly sneer about a Catholic gathering. “They sang a hymn, not to God, but to Mary!” I pondered this for a while and wondered: we are comfortable singing hymns to America, is it wrong to sing hymns to our saints? We can honor and celebrate our presidents. Can we not honor and celebrate the Mother of God? Clearly, we can and must honor the saints, and the queen of the saints, first and foremost.
But none of this is new to you. You know the Blessed Virgin. Many of you have prayed the rosary since you were children. I am preaching to the choir. What does this Feast Day offer you and me in our troubling times today?
American society is falling apart. Gender dysphoria, hedonism, political turmoil, and racial unrest are drops in the bucket. School boards are advocating for child pornography and mutilation. Antifa thugs overturn public prayer with fire bombs and mace. Christians are being forced out of work for refusing mandatory, experimental gene therapy. We need to be clear about these events. We live in challenging times. Nearly everyone I know is disturbed and shaken up.
What can the Feast of the Assumption offer us with so many trials? It means we have a Mother and we can rest in her arms.
As a young dad, I have been privileged to witness one of the most beautiful sights in the world: a young toddler cuddling with mother. There are no words to describe it, the way a little girl or boy melts in mother’s arms. She is pure, healing comfort. What is a mother? Emily Dickinson expressed this once in a poem: “Mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.” This is the Mother of God.
In times of need, we can rest in the arms of the Blessed Mother. Do you know what it means that Mary was assumed into heaven? No matter what we go through, we have her at our side. The Book of Revelation describes the battle on earth between satan and our Lord. There, in the stars, at every moment of the battle, is our Mother. As a mother, watching her child take his first steps, the Mother of God is with us, loving and caring.
“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre…Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir…The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace” (Psalm 45:6, 9, 13-15).
We are in the Kingdom. We are with Christ now, with all his saints. What can the world do to us? How can the world take away our peace, if are hearts are sealed with God? Today, the Mother of our Lord is taken up to heaven. Together with her son and the angels, she opens her arms to us and offers rest.