By Father Rich Tomkosky
Earlier this week, we celebrated Mary sharing in the victory of her Son Jesus over Satan, sin, and death. After falling asleep (her Dormition as it’s called in the Eastern Church) in death, our Blessed Lord raised her body and soul (her Assumption) to the glory of Heaven. She is a spiritual shining star now pointing us to the same destiny: eternal life in Heaven with the Trinity.
It has been said that her Assumption is our Assumption since she is the model for the human race both in following the Lord Jesus in total self-giving love, and now in sharing in His victory. All human beings are all called to share in this same victory one day if we are faithful to the Lord as Mary was in her life. We now need to trust in her maternal intercession to help us arrive at victory. This is now her God-given role in salvation history.
Please mediate on the last two decades of the Glorious mysteries of the Rosary: the Assumption and the Coronation of Mary, both which show us in a beautiful way her role now as the Spiritual mother of all the faithful in particular, but even of the whole human race, many of whom do not know who she is. I encourage you to read any of the works of Saint Louis Marie de Montefort to get deeper insights into this profound reality, especially his True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin with the Total Consecration of our life to Jesus thru Mary (pray and discern if the Lord is calling you to that), and The Secret of the Rosary.
Mary is the protector of our life in Christ. She wants to lead us spiritually by the hand into ever deeper union with Christ in every aspect of our lives. She wants to do this in the challenge of living our Catholic faith in the modern world with the prevailing spirit of disobedience and self-will that even crops into the life of the Church at times; in contrast, she wants to help us to be ever more docile and obedient to her spiritual spouse, the Holy Spirit, who wants to form us, like He formed her, into the shining image of Christ, the perfect image of the Father. Thus, by growing in devotion to her, she will help us to enter into closer communion daily with the Trinity.
She is also the one who protects us from the wiles of the evil one (Satan) and his minions who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls (c.f. St. Michael prayer, and 1 Peter). She gives us signs that she is with us, sometimes in miraculous ways, see Our Lady of Champion’s Shrine in Wisconsin on Oct 8, 1871, which was protected 12 years to the day after She appeared to Adele Brise from the horrible Peshtigo fire, which killed 2000 people and caused most of the city of Chicago to burn to the ground, and now the Church of Our Lady of Victory Church in Hawaii, both miraculously protected in the midst of horrible wildfires. We entrust all who died in Hawaii last week from those fires to her maternal love and God’s mercy and help for those left behind.
Finally, the Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us by her example and prayers not only how to love God better, but also how to love our neighbor better. How beautiful it is to see in the Gospel her loving devotion to her elderly cousin, Saint Elizabeth, in her pregnancy with Saint John the Baptist. As I have pointed out many times, we could imagine that Mary would have been justified on some level to just be concerned about herself at that moment since she just received, at the age of 14 or 15, the amazing announcement from the Archangel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah. However, that would fly in the face of her most noble quality besides her total devotion to God, which was her tender love for the people around her while forgetting herself.
This neighborly charity in imitation of our Blessed Mother Mary especially applies to praying, offering penance and making reparation for spiritually trying, in charity, to help the people who don’t like us or we don’t like for any reason, real or imagined, and for all the hardened sinners in the world; always willing the good for all in the Lord as our Lady always did, especially during our Lord’s Passion and her standing under the Cross when her Divine Son Jesus was being unjustly persecuted and put to death by His detractors and enemies both in the spiritual and human world.
By cooperating at each moment of her life with God’s grace, Mary was full of His total self-giving love. Let us ask her to help us to grow in that same love daily, so that we may truly learn in her maternal heart to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as our self. God bless you.
Father Rich Tomkosky is the Pastor of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish in Bedford and the Pastor of Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Beans Cove.