By Gretchen Erlichman
“When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” (John 2:3-5)
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) With Mary’s “yes” to be the Mother of God, she gave her consent to be the Mother of the Church and the Queen of both Heaven and earth. At her Assumption, the Blessed Mother was assumed, body and soul, up unto the Heavenly Kingdom of Her Son and assumed her reign as the Immaculate Queen over His beloved Church. It is through this mysterious miracle of her Assumption that the Blessed Virgin Mary sits on her throne beside her Divine Son and showers her motherly love upon us as one of our greatest intercessors to Our Lord.
In Pope Pius XII’s 1950 apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, Mary’s Assumption was clarified and defined as a dogma of the Church. In this declaration, Pope Pius XII articulated the special role that the Blessed Mother holds as the Immaculate Intercessor to her Divine Son: “We…to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds.”
How wonderful it is that Our Blessed Mother, assuming her queenship over Heaven and earth, bestows her maternal love and care upon us by bringing our every need to her Son! At the wedding at Cana, the Blessed Mother interceded for the the newlyweds, so as to save them from embarrassment: “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” (John 2:3-5) In this moment, Christ did not refuse the request of His mother. At Cana, Christ heeded His mother’s request to save a wedding. How much more precious are our requests to her that involve the salvation of our souls! How joyful she is to bring before her Son our requests for growth in the grace and virtue that will help us to grow in love of God and neighbor.
St. Basil the Great encourages us to entrust ourselves to the love and care of the Blessed Mother: “O sinner, be not discouraged, but have recourse to Mary in all your necessities. Call her to your assistance, for such is the divine Will that she should help in every kind of necessity.” Indeed, let us confidently bring our prayers and needs to Mary, Our Mother, who will lovingly bring them before her Son on our behalf. Mary, Immaculate Intercessor and Mother of the Church, pray for us!
By Phillip Baker
“Behold from now on will all ages call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).
There is no direct Biblical attestation of the Assumption of Mary. We are told of the uniqueness of Enoch, who “walked with God” and was taken into Heaven, and we know of Elijah, who was taken up in a chariot of fire; therefore, there are preceding examples (Gn 5:24; cf. 2 Kgs 2:9-12). Yet, the same details are not given of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. Because of the absence of biblical details, however, we should not conclude that the Assumption of Mary did not occur.
God reveals the Gospel of salvation both through Scripture, “the speech of God as it is put down in writing by the breath of the Holy Spirit,” and the Tradition of the Church, the living transmission of what Christ taught the Apostles, handed on faithfully through their successors, the bishops (cf. CCC 71, 81-2). Scripture and Tradition never contradict, but Tradition illuminates Scripture, and vice-versa. For our Lord did not give us the Bible during His time on earth, but established the Church, constituted by the Holy Spirit to “go [and] make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that [He has] commanded us” (Mt 28:19-20). Out of this Body of the Church was compiled the body of Scripture. So, although the Assumption of Mary is not recorded in Scripture, still it has ever been remembered in the Church’s Tradition.
For “the wages of sin is death,” and it was after the sin of Adam and Eve that man earned the punishment of mortality (Rom 6:23). Therefore Mary, who was preserved by God’s grace from sin, would not have suffered death. She who heard the angelic greeting, “hail, full of grace,” never sinned and did not know sin and would not have earned sins’s wages in tasting death (Lk 1:28; cf. CCC 966).
Mary is the mother of this Church which has always known that our Mother has been assumed, body and soul, into Heaven with her Son. From Heaven, she intercedes for her children, that she might teach us to love her Son. Let us listen, then, to our Mother’s teachings: Standing by the Cross, she teaches us to do the same, that we might bear all trials with Christ; adoring our Lord in Nazareth, she teaches us how to adore our Eucharistic God; contemplating all the mysteries of the Incarnation in her heart, Mary, Seat of Wisdom, teaches us how to contemplate her Son, Who is the Son of God (cf. Lk 2:19). Claiming no glory for herself, everything in Mary’s life “[proclaimed] the greatness of God,” and she always and only leads us to her son – in this way she “shows herself a mother” and the exemplar of the Church (Lk 1:46). Coming to Christ through Mary, we might learn from Mary to “forget our own people and our father’s house” until we come at last to dwell in our Father’s house (Ps 45:11).
COME PRAY WITH US!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!
(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)
Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact
Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact