Sunday, August 15, 2010

Assumptions on the Assumption

Mary's house in Ephesus, where she is believed to have lived out her days.
It's the feast of the Assumption of Mary!
I know, another uber Catholic post and event. Still, fascinating and cool for us and if you want to know more, go read here. I love this one!

It's also a big Ethiopian Feast: Ethiopian Orthodox celebrate this feast in a big way and it is called "Filsata Mariam" - and Marta grinned with excitement when told what today is. So it's a big deal even in the the other ancient Christian faith traditions.

That said, however, this is one of those Marian Catholic things that makes some folks a bit nuts. But really, it all makes sense. It is traced back to the apostles themselves:

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."
In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth." from Catholic Culture.org


Again, it makes sense to me and to me, it's beautiful.
"The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over." From Catholic Culture.org

When I think of and meditate on this mystery, this feast, I always can't help but think of Mary and her close relationship to her Son. A love from two pure souls, not smudged up by selfish hurts or striving, pure true love.

And, because it's always about me, I think of me and my sons. I am about to take my second son up to school, to move him out of the house. My eldest has already moved back up, he left last Sunday.  And I am already starting to leak tears here and there. And it will make me cry when we have to begin our drive home again, without him. I will try not to sob (not in front of him on campus, ok? Not cool.). But I will grieve him going. I will be very happy for him to be there, but it makes me cry to let him go. The house will echo without them here.

And then, I remember, when they come back on break or I go to visit them, the electric JOY that makes the world light up and a grin break across my face and dance to my feet. And that, that feeling, that reunion is what I think about, finally, every time, on this day.

My Jon
My Chris
Because no matter how old the mom is or how old the son(s).....that feeling surely cannot change, it hasn't yet.

The sheer undiluted JOY that must be had at THIS reunion - when Mary is lifted to heaven, after being physically separated for so long from her only dearest Son, and His for her. Think of that glee, those grins...I don't imagine a static statue of elegant repose and small appropriate smile on their faces. I hear and see whoops of laughter and hugs and glee and tears and grins and kisses. The best reunion of all. Glorious.

So, does the Assumption make sense? Oh yeah, to a mom, I think it makes Perfect sense. And it is a happy glorious feast!

painting by Botticini
{official busy disclaimer; much borrowed from years past, but not all...mom to eight, 'nuff said}

2 comments:

Paula said...

I like your uber Catholic posts. :) And I bawled like a baby when oldest daughter went back to ISU this year.

Zoe said...

Happy feast day! You always choose such wonderful art. The Assumption makes sense to me, too. We had the special treat of attending Mass at our parish today -- the Basilica of the Assumption, the oldest in the country as you know. It's been completely restored to the original vision of its architect and really is lovely.