Friday, August 15, 2014

“All Generations Will Call Me Blessed”

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

By Melanie Rigney

She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God. (Revelation 12:5-6)

The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold. (Psalms 45:10bc)

For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:22-24)

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” (Luke 1:46-49)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Who’s your Mary?

For years, mine looked like the one who stood in the dining room nook in my childhood home, a sort of Lladro knockoff with a blue cloak and a halo. My parents weren’t the church-going type, but family lore has it that when Mary’s halo got broken off, Mom cried and Dad yelled at my sisters and brother and I. The Mary of my childhood was like that statue before the halo-breaking incident: perfect, beautiful, porcelain, distant.

My Mary started changing when I saw The Passion of the Christ and could not take my eyes off Maia Morgenstern. Her Mary was fearless, pushing and shoving, never taking her eyes off her son as he carried that cross, knowing the one thing she could offer him was her presence, no matter how painful it was for her to be there. I began to see Mary as a fearless middle-aged lioness of a mother of Jesus; not so much for me, but for her son, whom I also was growing to love.

Today, my Mary is a young woman or girl from humble beginnings, one who was whispered about by those in her village, one who heard strange messages, not all of them happy, from a variety of God’s messengers: the angel Gabriel. Her relative Elizabeth. Simeon, when Jesus was presented at the temple. My Mary doesn’t congratulate herself or protest that she’s not worthy or ask for copious details or run out and dissect what she’s heard with her husband or five best friends. No, this Mary ponders the words in her heart. She tries to understand—and, it seems, whether she does or doesn’t, carries on, confident in whatever the path the Lord has set her upon. She’s here. She’s near. She’s flesh and blood. Her humanness is nearly as breathtaking as her faith. Hail, Mary, full of grace, indeed.

Write a letter to Mary. Ask her to share her stories with you, and share a few spots where you could use her guidance.

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