By Tom Quiner
“So do you have big plans for the day?” the young young woman queried.
I was buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The barista was perky and engaging.
I quickly thought about my day. “Let’s see, I just finished my conference call. What else is going on?”
And then I remembered.
I looked at the young woman and told her I will be attending Mass tonight to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.
She wasn’t quite sure how to handle that one. She didn’t respond and changed the subject back to the task at hand: “Do you need room for cream?”
The secular world doesn’t get Catholicism. Neither does much of the Protestant world. Mary is one flashpoint in Protestant discomfort with the Catholic Church.
Today’s glorious feast day honors the belief from the earliest days of the Church that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was assumed body and soul into heaven. This dogma of faith was formalized by Pope Pius XII in 1950:
“We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”
This day in the Church is known as the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, the word “solemnity” signifying that it ranks as one of the most important feast days.
All of Christendom has revered the Blessed Mother of Christ throughout the ages, until Protestantism began to pull away from the Tradition. As a result, modern Protestants are uncomfortable with the devotion Roman and Orthodox Catholics have toward Mary.
The Franciscan Media’s Saint of the Day website sheds light on the roots of this feast day:
“Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Nevertheless, Revelation 12 speaks of a woman who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testament, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory.
Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 15:20 Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus’ life, it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to belief in Mary’s share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him body and soul in heaven.”
In a world ravaged by hate, we need your prayers more than ever, Blessed Mother.