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Raise your hand if you have a great mother. How do you treat the mother of your friends? So we should treat the mother of our friend Jesus in just that same way.
What are some of the things that you have learned from your mother? You will be able to learn from her for your whole life. We can also learn from Mary as our mother. The Mother of God is a good mother. She learned at a young age the qualities that made her good at her vocation. It was her vocation because it was how she said “Yes” to God. She said her “yes” not only at the Annunciation but every day of her life. At the Annunciation we see that one of the greatest qualities of our Lady was her flexibility. She thought her life was going to be one way and the words of an angel changed it in a single moment. She did not say, “This is not why I planned,” but rather “Be it done to me as You say.”
Flexibility is something every parent needs and Mary was no different. Has your mother ever lost you in a store? There she was with Joseph in Jerusalem for the feast, and off wanders her only Son. She and Joseph search and find him in the Temple.
Then Jesus returns home and is obedient to His parents. He worked in the carpentry shop with Joseph, day after day and year after year. For the almost twenty years that followed, there were probably days when the Blessed Mother wondered when Jesus would begin the special work foretold by the angel. She waited for she was flexible.
When Jesus turned thirty, He began His ministry. At an age when men were retiring to sit at the city gates, He would leave home to spread the Good News. Mary followed her Son. She, who had a Son who was a Senior Citizen, was willing to pack up and follow her only Son. Why? Because she was flexible to the plan of God.
Her heart was probably filled with joy as people praised Her Son. She was probably worried as opposition mounted. But she knew that Jesus was no ordinary man. She had confidence that God had a plan. So she was probably shocked when she ;the Good News announced. But even at the foot of the cross she was flexible because she agreed to be the Mother of the disciples. Little did she know at the moment how numerous her children would be.
Then her heart was filled with joy at the news of the Resurrection. She had faith in God’s plan and she saw it fulfilled. She was there when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles at Pentecost. She then journeyed to Ephesus where she lived with St. John the Evangelist. After the completion of her earthly life, she was taken up to heaven body and soul.
The reward for all followers of Christ is to be taken up to the joy of heaven for all eternity. Our Blessed Lady because of her faith, because of her flexibility in following the plan of God for her and because of her love, was taken up to heaven gloriously. The Assumption is proof to all Christians that if we have faith, follow the plan of God and love that we too will be admitted to heaven.
Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. This solemn feast of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950, but was celebrated in the Church from its earliest days as the Feast of the Dormition, or falling asleep of Mary. This is the second oldest feast for Mary- the oldest is the Maternity of Mary marking the 8thday after Christmas (Jan 1). Before 500 the Assumption was celebrated throughout the Church.
We do not worship Mary, but we do venerate her in a manner greater than we venerate the saints. Let’s go back to the theological terminology of the devotion that Catholics are bound to give. First of all, we are called to adore God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The theological term for this is latria. Only God is to be adored and worshiped. We are to have no gods before our one God. We do not worship Mary. We do not worship the saints. We only worship God.
We venerate the saints. By that we mean that we recognize their proximity to God in heaven. We call upon them to intercede for us. The theological term for our veneration of the saints is dulia. So we focus in on a great saint, like yesterday’s saint, St. Maximillian Kolbe, author, scholar, missionary and martyr, and we ask him to use his proximity to God to intercede for us.
The respect we have for all the saints is on this level of veneration. But there is one saint whose level of veneration is far greater than what we offer the other saints. This is the saint who is closest to God, Mary, the Immaculately Conceived One. Because she is the Mother of the human nature of Jesus and the mother of the one Person of God become man, or Mother of God, we offer Mary the highest level of respect and veneration. The theological term for this is hyperdulia. Hyperdulia, the veneration of Mary, is infinitely less than the adoration we offer to God, but it is also greater than what we offer the other saints. Mary is not just the first among the saints, she is far greater than any of the saints, or all of the saints put together for that matter.
We celebrate Mary and call upon her to intercede for us, like we pray in the Hail Mary. She was given to us at the foot of the cross to be our mother.
The bottom line of the feast is this: Mary is in heaven. The one who is our mother is with God for all eternity. Our prayers to Mary are the prayers of children asking their mother for help.