August 21, 2018

15 August: Feast of the Assumption

Is it “The Assumption of Mary into Heaven” or the “Dormition of the Theotokos”? —The Taking of Mary to Heaven or the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God?

Image:The Immaculate Conception window in the sanctuary of the Baggot Street chapel, created by Earley and Co Studios and installed in 1931 in honour of the centenary of the Sisters of Mercy. Photo: David Knight © 2011 MIA

Did Mary come to the end of her life and then was simply taken into heaven... or did she die, like her son, and on the third day her tomb was found empty, and followers assumed that she, except for her clothes, was risen, living wholly now in what is the Age to Come?

Actually, I dare not say. — And nor does Roman doctrine, or Eastern for that matter.  In fact, the Latin tradition leaves it ambiguous and Eastern traditions prefer to keep the subject resting in a liturgical arena.  Whatever this feast day is really about, it has been a work in progress ever since the time of Mary.

Many Christian communities around the world celebrate this feast day in robust fashion.  And, frankly, many do not.  Since the Community of Mercy is very historically rooted in devotion to Mary I wondered how I might reflect upon this feast in a way that bridges a bit of this divide.

First, what does it mean that people for 2000 years have leaned toward her for inspiration, consolation, and assistance?  And while her memory has been grossly sanitized... across cultures, and often patriarchally tamed beyond much connection to a Jewish woman of her time, the heart of her story remains. — She took a chance, she said “yes” to some big invitation, a mystery, an event, an encounter.  She said, “Count me in!” — She was all about being part of incarnating God in our midst.  No guarantees, just life lived fully — desiring the hidden and revealing God who draws and pulls us toward more, and who pulls with us, as well...

Download the article here: English: A4 paper size (2pps, PDF), US Letter size (2pps, PDF)

Messages to: Mary-Paula Cancienne rsm (Americas)

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