In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Dad, did grandpa lose his soul in 1950?” Certainly an odd question, but one I worried a great deal about as a child. August 15 was my grandpa’s birthday. He would dryly claim that everyone went to church today to pray for his lost soul. So, after learning that the Church first began officially celebrating the Assumption in 1950, I connected the dots the way only a child could.
A priest-mentor once explained that Marian doctrines are really about us, about the Church. At first glance the woman in the clouds is Mary; but for some scholars the woman is Israel birthing Christianity. With that interpretation, today’s celebration grows. It’s not just Mary’s assumption, but the assumption of the whole Church.
In a way, my grandpa was right. Every August 15 we pray for and celebrate God’s sure promise that his pilgrim people are journeying together toward our heavenly home. How does this interpretation of the Assumption either challenge or expand your faith?
—Mark Bartholet, grandson of Al Bartholet Sr., is celebrating the Assumption and Big Al’s birthday at St. Peter Catholic Church, the Jesuit-staffed parish in Charlotte, NC.
Holy Mary, mother of God, with your sure promise we move forward with the adventures of our lives. We are confident that, from your place with Jesus, you draw us all together in God’s good grace. So pray for us sinners on this journey of life until one day we see you face to face, with Jesus and the Father in the Holy Spirit. Amen.