Mary’s Assumption inspires us to imitate her discipleship Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Aug. 09, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Seeing with Jesus' Eyes, by Fr. Don Lange

Fr. Mark Link shared an inspiring story of a Catholic teenager who felt that her mother rejected her. She transferred her anger for her mother to Mary.

The girl reluctantly went on a required Confirmation retreat. The director talked about Mary. As the girl listened, angry feelings towards her mother surfaced. She rejected everything good the speaker shared about Mary. After the talk, she went outside to walk off her anger. She wanted to cry but her tears froze. She felt bitter loneliness and rejection.

She wandered aimlessly until her curiosity attracted her to a small grotto-like building. She looked inside and discovered a large statue of Mary from whom she was trying to escape. She wanted to run, but she was drawn to the kneeler at Mary’s feet. She fell on her knees, weeping in the folds of Mary’s robes. When she stopped crying, she felt cleansed and renewed. Touched by Mary, she began to accept her as her spiritual mother.

Later, she received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and felt the desire to forgive and be reconciled with her mother. She joined millions of Catholics who venerate Mary and feel her love for them. Her devotion to Mary inspired her to become Jesus’ faithful disciple.

Exalted as Queen of Heaven

On August 15, we celebrate Mary’s Assumption into heaven. In no. 966 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, “The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”

The Second Vatican Council placed its teaching about Mary within the Constitution of the Church. The council wanted to emphasize that Mary was the model of discipleship and of Church. God sent the angel Gabriel to ask Mary to be Jesus’ mother. She responded, “Let it be done to me as you say.”

Mary’s Assumption is God’s response to her faithful discipleship expressed in her openness to doing his will. By being faithful disciples like Mary, we pray that when our earthly life ends, we will live not just in others’ memories, but forever in glory.

First and greatest disciple

Mary, Christ’s first and greatest disciple, shows us that because she followed Jesus, she experienced sorrow’s crosses. Herod tried to kill Jesus and the Holy Family fled to Egypt. Jesus was lost in the temple. In his public life, he was in constant danger of being killed. Finally, he was cruelly crucified. As Christ’s disciples like Mary we, too, will suffer.

Mary also shows us that as Jesus’ disciples we experience joy. In Luke 1:39-56, the Assumption Gospel, Mary learns that Elizabeth, her elderly cousin, is pregnant with John, the Baptist.

Mary visits and helps her. She shares God’s gift of Jesus in her womb with Elizabeth and unborn John who joyfully praise God. Mary shows us that helping those in need brings joy. Then she proclaims the “Magnificat” and invites us to follow its challenging message.

Message of the ‘Magnificat’

In the “Magnificat,” Mary praises God because God has done great things for her. Mary inspires us to praise God in prayer. Her prayer reminds us that God will also do great things for us if we let him. Like Mary, we carry Jesus in our heart. We grow closer to him, when we share him with others.

Next, Mary announces that God scatters the proud in the conceit of their heart. Pride keeps us from being better disciples. Mary teaches us that to follow Jesus, we must humbly depend upon him. Christ is the vine who nourishes us, his branches.

Mary also proclaims that God has thrown down the mighty from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. Whether rich or poor, we are uniquely created in God’s image. Therefore we should treat others with dignity and respect. This is the first step on the road to peace.

The “Magnificat” reminds us that Christ’s ways are often not the world’s ways. We should be uneasy when anyone suffers dire need while we live in abundance.

According to the World Food Programme, 925 million people world-wide did not have enough to eat in 2010. In developing countries, 10.9 million children under five die mostly from hunger and malnutrition each year. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that when we feed the hungry, we feed him. The corporal works of mercy open the door of heaven.

Like Mary, as a reward for faithful disciheaven where we will join the angels, saints, and loved ones.

We cannot comprehend heaven’s eternal joy and love. In first Corinthians 2:9 it is written: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Let us pray. Amen. Alleluia!

Fr. Don Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.