By Fr. Paul Robson sj
This year, it is a treat and a blessing to have the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary fall on a Sunday. This feast day is always celebrated on August 15 th ; but when August 15 th is a Sunday, the Assumption replaces the usual Sunday in Ordinary Time celebration.
On this day we recall how Mary was “assumed”, body and soul, into Heaven. In other words, she didn’t suffer death the way we do. This belief is related to another one: that Mary was a specially blessed person. Mary’s unique blessedness is mentioned in today’s Gospel reading, such as when her cousin Elizabeth says: “Blessed are you among women” (or, in Anishnaabemowin, “Awashime ki kitchitwawendagos endchiwaat ikwewag”).
Another feast day which is closely connected to today’s feast of the Assumption is the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is celebrated a week later, on August 22 nd . (However, unlike the Solemnity of the Assumption, the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary does not replace the usual Ordinary Time Sunday celebration, and so isn’t on the calendar this year.) A connection between Mary’s Assumption into Heaven and her being crowned Queen of Heaven is found in one of the prayers for the Mass of the Assumption, which states that “she was crowned this day with surpassing glory.”
Maybe the image of a queen wearing a crown seems old-fashioned, or like something belonging to another culture. Well, the notion of Mary as Queen of Heaven suggests, again, that she is a specially blessed person, and that she now has a special place in Heaven.
Another image and a good description of Mary, one that perhaps we can relate to more than the image of a queen, is that of a mother. Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, but was given by Jesus to us to be our Great Mother. And Mary loves us as a mother, and is there for us, and intercedes for us and for our loved ones and our world.
Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us.