We are Blessed to Have Mary
In our Catholic devotion, the month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The feast of the Assumption, in the middle of this month, is the patronal feast of Southern Africa. As a nation, we are celebrating Women’s Month. There is no better model for all women to look up to than Our Lady.
Shortly after the end of the Second World War, which caused millions of deaths and left countless people injured or displaced, the Church interpreted the meaning of her ancient teaching on the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed ex cathedra: “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 into heavenly glory” (cf Munificentissimus Deus).
As it was then, so now and always— Our Lady assumed into heaven is a sign of hope for all of troubled humanity.
Mary, by a unique privilege, was preserved from original sin, so that she, full of grace, might bear God’s incarnate Son in her body. Therefore, that body—pure and chaste—could not be touched by the decay of the tomb. Mary, the true Ark of the Covenant, God’s dwelling place on earth, now dwells forever in God’s presence.
The Father looked to that lowly Virgin of Nazareth to bring forth the Saviour of the world by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now, the redeemed of the Lord look on this blessed and highly favoured one to
see the effects of redemption in Christ. The victory of Christ over sin and death, through the Resurrection, is central to our Christian faith—a victory which we wish to share as fully as Our Lady already does.
Made partakers in the life of God through baptism, though we live in these mortal bodies with the limitations of decay and death, we can hope for immortality, for new and glorious bodies at the resurrection on the last day, free from all that could harm us.
Mary always points to Jesus
The Mother of Good Hope always points us to Jesus and never to herself. True devotion to Mary means, to paraphrase many saintly devotees of Our Lady, all to Jesus through Mary; all to Mary for Jesus.
As Catholics we love the Virgin Mary for she is the mother of the Lord and our mother. After all, as St Maximillian Kolbe said, we can never love her more than Jesus does.
We should not be afraid or ashamed to
recite the rosary, for it is truly a biblical prayer and the Lord Jesus is at the centre of each Hail Mary.
The nationwide lockdown is now slowly easing. For many, the rosary has been that chain which kept them connected to their faith during this time. It is because Mary always brings Jesus to us, as she did for Elizabeth and John the Baptist, at the Visitation (Luke 1:39-56). Here, when Elizabeth “praises” her, Mary turns and directs all praise to God: My soul magnifies the Lord.
This prayer, the Magnificat, echoed by the Church every evening, shows us the depth of Mary’s faith and hope in the Lord of justice. She continues to sing God’s praises in heaven, as she implores his mercy for all her children on earth.
As we continue to feel the effects of Covid-19 across the globe, along with the persecution of Christians in many parts of the world, the scourge of violence against the innocent in our country—especially woman and children—injustice and extreme poverty and hunger, we turn to Mary, a sign of comfort to God’s pilgrim people.
Created as we are, in the image and likeness of God, with an inviolable dignity, we long for justice and peace.
Imitating the Blessed Mother, the first and best disciple of Christ, we learn the ways of faith and charity. Relying on the grace of God, let us remain attentive to the things that are above, for all our hope is in God.
Blessed are we when we, like Mary, faithfully believe that the Lord’s word will be fulfilled.