The Assumption of Mary 

The feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven is celebrated on August 15th but as it falls on a Monday it is moved to the Sunday in honour of its importance. It has been held as a belief since the time of the apostles and celebrated since the 6th century though only promulgated by Pius XII in 1950. Through her assumption into heaven she was given a special place of honour. 
Mary in this week’s Gospel helps us to see how important her role is in the life of the Church. As we read: 
This dogma shows how important every single human life is. Pope Plus XII hoped that by thinking about Mary’s Assumption, people all over the world would develop a deeper respect for their own lives and their own bodies. He also hoped that people would grow in respect for the lives of others.’ 
from Saints and Feast Days, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio 
In the Gospel we read of the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. She set out to get there as quickly as possible to share not only her good news but also Elizabeth’s good news. Elizabeth recognises the blessing that she experiences when Mary arrives to visit and questions why she should be so honoured by Mary’s visit. She acknowledges the place that Mary has in history and how she fulfils the promise that the Lord has made. 
What follows is the prayer that we know as the Magnificat – a prayer prayed daily as part of the Prayer of the Church. This prayer is a wonderful example of the faith of Mary which echoes the Old Testament prayer of Hannah. Hannah was childless and prayed for a child and promised him to the Lord if she was able to bear one. Her prayer was answered and her song of thanksgiving (1 Samuel 2: 1-10) is one Mary would have known well. It is a prayer of joy and praise and thanksgiving to God. How do we respond in our own lives to this demonstration of Mary’s faith? 
Mary gives us a wonderful example of how we can live our lives. She is a woman of prayer, a woman who cares for others as shown by her concern for Elizabeth and she is a woman of humility. We can learn from her and as we celebrate this feast we thank God for the life of Mary. 
Sr. Margaret Mattison 
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Guido Reni, circa 1642. 
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