It may seem that I’m partial, when I say I love the month of August, partially because of my birthday; but there are several other days occurring this month that have a special meaning to me. There are: the Transfiguration of the Lord (6th), Knights of Columbus founder, Blessed Michael McGivney (13th) St. Maximilian Kolbe (14th) and Our Lady of Częstochowa (26th), besides the obvious Holy Day of Obligation – the Solemn Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th.
There is reason for great joy today (August 15) as we celebrate Mary’s Assumption into heaven, because we are celebrating a great privilege given to our heavenly mother. As we observe the great Marian Feast, we take time to look on Mary as our heavenly mother. She is the mother of us all and loves us a great deal, watching over us and protecting us. She is the mother with whom we can tell every joy and share every sorrow. We remember Jesus’ words as he was dying on the cross, saying to Mary, ‘Woman behold your son’, and to John he said, ‘Son, behold your mother.’ We have always regarded this little incident as being symbolic for us: as Jesus was dying on the cross gave us his mother to be our mother also.
There is, in all of us, the tendency or temptation to ‘play God’ sometimes. We will not dare to allow God to have control over our lives; we don’t surrender our lives to God. Sometimes we act as if we are little gods. We hold out our hands to God, so full of ourselves, that God cannot give Himself to us because He can only do that if our hands are empty. Our life is meant to be a giving more and more of ourselves to God. We are complex people, so we give God only part of our lives, the part that suits us.
But to meet God in heaven we will have to surrender ourselves fully to God first, to let God be God in our lives and accept that we are only human. That’s why Mary’s greatness lies in the fact that she was humble before God – she surrendered herself to God. Her words to the angel at the Annunciation are words that we need to meditate on a great deal, ‘Let it be done to me according to your word.’ Surrendering of herself to God did not mean a perpetual spiritual honeymoon but a giving of herself more and more to God as time went on. We can see evidence for this in the Gospels: at the presentation of Jesus in the temple. Simeon told her that her soul would be pierced with sorrow. When Jesus was twelve years old, the family had a misunderstanding over why Jesus got lost for three days. Mary once again learned more about surrendering to God as Jesus told her that He had to be about his Father’s business.
Because she surrendered herself so much to Him, God filled her with his presence just as He wants to fill us when we surrender ourselves to God. Mary’s sinlessness and being ‘full of grace’ led naturally to her assumption, body and soul, into heaven at the end of her life. The Church has believed in Mary’s Assumption for centuries, although it was only proclaimed a dogma in 1950, by Pope Pius XII.
A sure way for us to surrender ourselves to God and be filled with the presence of God like Mary is to pray the Rosary daily. It is a most beautiful prayer, a prayer that can bring us and keep us closer to God. When we pray the Rosary, we are not just saying prayers. These prayers are to calm us down so that we can tune in to God and our blessed Mother. While we pray, our minds are meditating on the twenty great events in the life of Jesus. When we are in desperation and we don’t know how to pray otherwise, it’s a good prayer and a beautiful way to keep in contact with our heavenly mother. When we do so we can unite ourselves with Mary in expressing her sentiments: humility and faithfulness in the face of adversity and challenge.
Learn to love Mary, to pray to her and to honor her as you would your own earthly mother. As our heavenly mother, you can be sure that she has a lot more “pull.”