Monday, August 15, 2016

Celebrating Mary

Dear Friends,
Today, we celebrate the arrival home of Mary, Mother of God. She started out her earthly life humbly. She ended that way, too, tucked away somewhere, waiting to die. Mary didn’t know what would follow, except that she believed she would see her Son again, and Joseph, who died too soon.
Nothing in Scripture tells of her death, but believers had an instinct for the truth of Mary’s life, death and beyond. The conviction became well rooted in the faith community that Mary went to God, whole and entire: body, soul, spirit, memory, thought and consciousness. All was taken up. All.  With Jesus, Mary could expect nothing less.
For at least 1500 years, believers like you and me have carried her in our hearts and minds and prayer. We speak of her in the present tense, as present with God, here and now. Mary is the first. We all follow. One day, our entire body, soul, spirit, memory, thought and consciousness will be taken up. With Jesus, we can expect nothing less.
Ordinarily, we don’t think of life beyond death, except maybe at funerals. This life, this world absorbs us. And why shouldn’t it? It’s all we experience, and it is wondrous. Even though we, as Catholics, say we believe in life everlasting, the thought doesn’t grab us – compel our attention. That’s why this feast is precious. It calls us to pay attention: beyond what we know is wondrous in life, nature, science, knowledge, something more wondrous awaits us.
Sorry, Yogi. At death, it’s not over. What looks like the end is in fact a continuation of life enriched, emptied of self-serving or pain or aimlessness. The end for us as for Mary is being lifted up to newness. The old and treasured in us will not be gone, just as it was not gone for Mary. Our earthly end is the first moment of eternal life. And I am confident that there will be wonder, awe, delight and surprises, for God is full of these realities which we experience in limited ways in this life.  
Today, set aside whatever can drag you down and focus your attention on the homecoming of Mary. Let your mind and heart soar. Say "Thank You" to God for her life and for her eternity. Enjoy this holy day when we celebrate the victory of Christ over death writ large in His Mother.
~ Sister Joan Sobala