The Feast of the Assumption is a day of joy. God has won. Love has won. It has won life. Love has shown that it is stronger than death, that God possesses the true strength and that his strength is goodness and love.
Mary was taken up body and soul into Heaven: there is even room in God for the body. Heaven is no longer a very remote sphere unknown to us. (Source)
But there is also another aspect: in God not only is there room for man; in man there is room for God. This too we see in Mary, the Holy Ark who bears the presence of God. In us there is space for God and this presence of God in us, so important for bringing light to the world with all its sadness, with its problems. This presence is realized in the faith: in the faith we open the doors of our existence so that God may enter us, so that God can be the power that gives life and a path to our existence. In us there is room, let us open ourselves like Mary opened herself, saying: “Let your will be done, I am the servant of the Lord”. By opening ourselves to God, we lose nothing. On the contrary, our life becomes rich and great.
And so, faith and hope and love are combined. Today there is much discussion on a better world to be awaited: it would be our hope. If and when this better world comes, we do not know, I do not know. What is certain is that a world which distances itself from God does not become better but worse. Only God’s presence can guarantee a good world. Let us leave it at that.
One thing, one hope is certain: God expects us, waits for us, we do not go out into a void, we are expected. God is expecting us and on going to that other world we find the goodness of the Mother, we find our loved ones, we find eternal Love. God is waiting for us: this is our great joy and the great hope that is born from this Feast. (Source)
By looking at Mary’s Assumption into Heaven we understand better that even though our daily life may be marked by trials and difficulties, it flows like a river to the divine ocean, to the fullness of joy and peace. We understand that our death is not the end but rather the entrance into life that knows no death. Our setting on the horizon of this world is our rising at the dawn of the new world, the dawn of the eternal day.
“Mary, while you accompany us in the toil of our daily living and dying, keep us constantly oriented to the true homeland of bliss. Help us to do as you did”.
Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends who are taking part in this celebration this morning, let us pray this prayer to Mary together. In the face of the sad spectacle of all the false joy and at the same time of all the anguished suffering which is spreading through the world, we must learn from her to become ourselves signs of hope and comfort; we must proclaim with our own lives Christ’s Resurrection.
“Help us, Mother, bright Gate of Heaven, Mother of Mercy, source through whom came Jesus Christ, our life and our joy. Amen”. (Source)
Would you like an exercise podcast update? Of course you would.
This program (scroll down to 8/8) on the destruction of English religious art during the Reformation was really excellent. Presented by historian Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Great Lives has an interesting framework: a well-known person in a certain field discusses a chosen “great life” along with a host and a scholar.
This week, I listened to a program (4/1) on cellist Jacqueline Du Pre (perhaps you saw the film Hilary and Jackie? I did..a couple of times, and loved it, even though it’s apparently – like most biopics – completely inaccurate.) The well-known person was another intriguing person – deaf solo percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Great! More rabbit holes!
I also listened to Michael Palin talk about Hemingway – Palin did one of his travel programs on Hemingway some years ago. Enjoyed this one, too. Both gave me a lot to think about regarding creativity and the self.
Actually started and finished a couple of books. The Confessions of Frances Godwin which, well, I gave two stars to. Sorry. Next was non-fiction: How Paris Became Paris, which was interesting because of the very mild myth-busting that was going on. People like to credit/blame Haussmann for moving Paris from medievalism to modernity, but as the author of this book shows, the transformation began centuries before, mostly under King Henry IV who oversaw the construction of revolutionary public spaces like the Pont Neuf and the Place Royale. Reading texts from 17th century travel guides was illuminating, but the book was a bit overstuffed and the content could have fit in in a meaty Atlantic or New Yorker article.
Speaking of reading and public spaces – I tweeted this last week, but forgot to mention it here. Our local alt weekly, called Weld ran an excellent, thorough treatment of the murder of Father James Coyle on the steps of the Cathedral rectory almost a hundred years ago. If you’ve never heard of this case – go read the article. It’s an important part of our history, featuring anti-Catholicism, the Klan and future Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black.
Coyle could not have imagined that his most imminent threat was from a fellow clergyman. Edwin Stephenson was an ordained Methodist deacon who presented himself as a full-fledged minister for his primary occupation of marrying couples at the Jefferson County Courthouse (which in 1921 was on the same Third Avenue North block as St. Paul’s). He was also a member of Robert E. Lee Klavern No. 1, the first Alabama chapter of the new Ku Klux Klan.
Back to the Assumption – as I mentioned yesterday, don’t forget that my book Mary and the Christian Life is available for a free download. Not for a limited time, either. Today and probably always!
I know I mentioned that I sold my other house, but even now, the relief hasn’t worn off. Once a day, I pause, and think, “Aaaaah!” – amazed at the freedom and resolved that this – the house I’m in – will be the last home I own. No, I don’t plan on living here until I die (unless I die in the next ten years), but really and truly – when we’re done here, I’m done owning, and will be perfectly fine with renting. It’s not ownership that gets me – it’s the burden of knowing you are going to have to sell the thing someday, and all that entails. Plus (again, I hope we are talking far into the future), after dealing with my father’s estate, I’m determined to leave my own children with as few complications as possible, and that includes a house that has to be sold. What we leave behind is a continual object of meditation for me. It’s a metaphor, you know.
Rectify is tearing me up,but I won’t write about it until next week – the final episode. Except to say that in a program filled with fine actors and juicy roles, Clayne Crawford as Ted, Jr is really emerging as a standout. If you live in the South, you know Ted, Jr – the good ol’ boy/prep/poseur – he’s instantly recognizable…but then as the show has progressed, he’s become recognizable in a different way – as a confused, angry, self-doubting guy who really doesn’t know what’s hit him or his family. So imagine my amazement just five minutes ago when I looked him to find you a good link and discovered that he’s from these parts – not that far from Birmingham.
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