Who is Mary… to you? A Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2019

visitation
“The Visitation” by Philippe de Champaigne, 1645

Who is Mary… to you?

A mythical figure?  A historical character?  An inspiration?  A spiritual refuge?  The mother of a man named Jesus?  The mother of God?

To me, she is everything I strive to become.  She is humanity perfected.  She points me straight towards salvation, towards redemption, and towards eternity.

Her response when she greets Elizabeth defines her life.  She states: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

She could have said, instead, something like:

“What a long trip that was.  Quick… where is your bathroom?”

Or…

“Elizabeth, you look amazing!  How are you feeling?”

Or…

“OMG… is this really happening?”

But the woman who said yes and who allowed God’s plan to commence… the woman who contributed her humanity to his son… and the woman who inspires us still… said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

Anyone who prays the Magnificat, also known as the Canticle of Mary, knows well these eight words.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”  That is to say that Mary was declaring before Elizabeth what she would ultimately declare with her entire existence, that she was from that point forward dedicating her essence, her entirety, her very being to one thing and that is to proclaiming the greatness of the Lord.  This is who she agreed to become: a woman totally and thoroughly and uncompromisingly about just that one thing.

I think this is something wonderful to strive towards.  And I think that there is something wonderfully clarifying about it.

When faced with an important decision in life, ask yourself: does doing this help me to proclaim the greatness of the Lord?

When you have hardship or disappointment, how can you still proclaim the greatness of the Lord?

When you are suffering, can you do so in a way that showcases for all the world to see that despite your pain, you have decided… like Mary… to let your suffering proclaim the greatness of the Lord.

When you experience great joy, do you convert that into becoming a beacon for the Lord’s greatness?

When you prioritize how to spend your time, do you prioritize serving as a living embodiment of the greatness of the Lord?

And when you fall asleep at night, do you ask yourself whether your actions and words that day helped to proclaim the greatness of the Lord?

These are all pretty clarifying questions. This is the beauty of dedicating your life to just that one thing.

Mary… mother of God.  You allowed your life to become a rich and eternal symbol of devotion.  And your life points us all towards your son.

Mary… we ask you humbly… please help us to do the same with our lives.

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