Reflection for the Feast of the Assumption

My Dear Friends

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Assumption! This feast celebrates the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul into heaven. It is a feast celebrated by Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians. Within the Catholic Tradition, it was promulgated as a dogma by Pope Pius XII in 1950. This is sometimes referred to as Mary’s dormition or falling asleep – as she had not been touched by sin.

The question? In the grinding challenges of daily life against the backdrop of COVID19, multiple global catastrophes from Beirut to landslides, flooding, international and national conflicts, train disasters and humanitarian crises, what has this doctrine and the celebration of this feast to say to me? What message does it contain to enlighten and guide me amid the stresses, pressures and anxieties I am experiencing?

You have often heard me refer to one of Mary’s most beautiful titles, the Theotokos (Θεοτόκος God-Bearer)! You have also heard me refer to her as the first living tabernacle. Think about it! In her time,

  • while she was the God-Bearer, she risked being ostracised by family and community;

  • she was surrounded by social and religious stresses and pressures;

  • she experienced political oppression and persecution;

  • while trying to fulfil her civic responsibilities, she ended up homeless;

  • like many migrants and refugees around the world, she herself became one as she sought refuge from tyrants who saw her Son as a threat to their wealth and corrupt power!

During all these trials and tribulations, she remained the God-Bearer! You know, I think the same applies to you and me!

I firmly believe, that for all our brokenness, emotional, psychological and spiritual woundedness; our countless human frailties and irritating foibles, when we receive the Eucharist, we, too, become the God-Bearers to our families, communities and world! We, too, become vibrant, radiating, loving, living tabernacles. It is then that the sometimes dusty storerooms of our hearts and souls, which had been hitherto filled with sheaves of dried out ‘Christian things we should do’ are transformed into the beating heart of God, and the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit!

Possibly, the scriptural scholars, and theologians, would not quite appreciate another facet of dormition/falling asleep…However, there are times when we ‘fall asleep’ to the reality of our being God-Bearers to our world. The wonderful challenge of this feast is to allow the breath of God dwelling within us to fill us with pulsating life, renewed love, and inspiring Hope; for our own hearts to beat with the unfathomable love of His heartbeat; and, our eyes, words and actions to radiate the spirit of His Hope, Peace, Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Healing. The feast of the Assumption, borne by us into the world…as the Theotokos, God-Bearer!

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

© 2019• Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton

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