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The Happy Priest Reflects on the Assumption of Mary
By Fr. James Farfaglia
August 15th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
There will be no solutions to the unraveling and disintegration of everything around us until we all become good disciples of the One who came to save us. A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.True devotion to Mary gives us the answer to all of the challenges of our times. She is the perfect disciple. Saint Augustine once wrote, "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ."
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Today we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven. What exactly does this mystery of our faith mean? In order to answer this question, let us turn to the solemn infallible proclamation made on November 1, 1950 by Pope Pius XII.
"In their homilies and sermons on this feast the holy fathers and great doctors spoke of the assumption of the Mother of God as something already familiar and accepted by the faithful. They gave it greater clarity in their preaching and used more profound arguments in setting out its nature and meaning. Above all, they brought out more clearly the fact that what is commemorated in this feast is not simply the total absence of corruption from the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary but also her triumph over death and her glorification in heaven, after the pattern set by her only Son, Jesus Christ.
Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of Original Sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more full conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."
Sometimes people get confused when they do not understand the difference between the assumption of Mary and the ascension of Jesus. Jesus ascended into heaven by his own divine power because he is true God and true man. Mary is human and not divine. Therefore, she is assumed into heaven by God's power.
The dogma of the Assumption is directly linked to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived without Original Sin. Since Mary, through a special privilege of grace did not have any sin, including Original Sin, her body did not suffer the normal consequences of death that we do.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary in the womb of her mother was defined as a dogma of our Catholic Faith by Blessed Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.
In the solemn proclamation, the Pope said: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
The Tradition, both of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church maintain that Mary died in the presence of the Apostles. Thomas was not present. When he did join them a few days later, they took him to her tomb.
When the Apostles opened her tomb, her body was not present. Moreover, in the subsequent years of Church history, no relics of Mary's body were ever venerated. However, it is recorded that at one time the veil and the belt of the Virgin Mary were venerated in Constantinople.
As we contemplate the mystery of the Assumption, we also contemplate the tremendous number of challenges in our own country and throughout the world.
True devotion to Mary gives us the answer to all of the challenges of our times. She is the perfect disciple. Saint Augustine once wrote, "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ."
Worldwide chaos will end when the entire world turns back to God.
There will be no solutions to the unraveling and disintegration of everything around us until we all become good disciples of the One who came to save us.
Our nation is presently challenged by many difficulties. The rapid unraveling of every sense of moral decency is alarming.
For almost four decades the issue of abortion has been on the forefront of a cultural war. The approximate number of known legal abortions in this country alone since Roe v. Wade is staggering to the imagination.
New issues have entered into the battlefield.
Attempts to alter God's plan for marriage rage on as numerous states redefine their marriage laws.
The Federal government expands its intrusive tentacles into the Catholic Church, trampling upon religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
Moving beyond democrat or republican and liberal or conservative, our country is polarized by two clashing world views.
Is government the answer or is it the problem?
Is civil law based upon and derived from natural law and divine law, or is it composed from capricious human ideologies?
Does the unborn child have the right to life or is a woman autonomous from God's law and free to kill her own child?
Can the human person ignore God's plan for marriage, sexuality and procreation, and re-define marriage?
Our contemporary national conversation reminds me of the words spoken by Anthony of the Desert, a second century saint who said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"
What America needs now more than ever is God.
President Ronald Reagan understood this.
As he was sworn into office for the first time, he placed his hand on the Bible that was owned by his devout Christian mother.
The Bible was marked to The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14 which was his favorite Scripture passage.
"If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land."
A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.
As we celebrate this beautiful Marian feast day, let us recall the famous prayer called the Memorare which was composed by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153). Let us conclude with his beautiful prayer which has consoled millions of people.
"Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen."
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