This was the core of the message which Mons. Charles J. Scicluna, the Archbishop of Malta, posted in his Vlog. The feast of the Assumption of Mary precisely means celebrating unity.
In his message the Archbishop appealed to each and everyone of us that the solemnity of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is a splendid opportunity for all of us so that our heart will never be attached to this beautiful world and life simply because our call is to spend our eternity in heaven. He said: “Our Lady Assumed into Heaven is a sign that we have a really beautiful destiny, that we need to prepare for already from this world by living in peace with each other and our neighbour. And let us not forget that God, who has great mercy, really loves us”.
The Archbishop’s message concerning Mary as a sign of unity powerfully reminds me of that special relationship that exists between Her and the Holy Trinity, the fount and origin of unity. In fact, the Trinity is the unity par excellence. As the Archbishop rightly pointed out Mary is a sign. Due to her intimate involvment in Jesus’ life, Mary automatically benefits from the marvellous gifts, worked on her by God’s unfathomable grace, namely of being freed and, thus, preserved from sin. Her motherhood is virginal and, as the apostolic constituition defining the dogma of the Assumption, by Venerable Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, of November 1 1950, tells us, “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” (no. 44).
As we can see, all these gifts bestowed on Mary by God’s grace, are but the providential love of the Father, the incarnate grace of Jesus Christ, and the outpoured union of the Holy Spirit. The gift of holiness is not exclusive to Mary alone. It can be yours and mine too, provided that we heed to what Jesus summons us to do in the gospel according to Mark. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mk 3:32-35).
Mary was the one who perfectly did the will of God and paid the price for it till its last drop. Obviously, she did not do it out of obligation but simply out of her deep loving devotion and total submission to the Father’s loving plan for fallen humanity. As a Franciscan I cannot see a better way of expressing Mary’s profound connection with the Holy Trinity than the Salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, composed by St. Francis of Assisi:
“Hail Lady, Holy Queen, Holy Mary Theotokos, who art the Virgin made church and the One elect by the Most Holy Father of Heaven, whom He consecrated with His Most Holy beloved Son and with the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete; Thou in whom was and is all fullness of grace and every good. Hail His Palace; Hail His Tabernacle; Hail His Home. Hail His Vestment;
Hail His Handmaid; Hail His Mother”.
In his Spirit-given wisdom, since he completely welcomed God’s Kingdom in his heart like a child, St. Francis could clearly see that Mary’s humble surrender to God’s salvation made her fully receptive to God’s grace. Mary’s humility even inspired St. Teresa of Culcutta to present to her this ardent and heartfelt prayer: “Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor”.
Since, in God’s eyes, humility is the virtue that He likes most in a soul (see Diary of St. Faustina, no. 1563), Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord, has been given the authority by God thanks to her humble and generous Yes to His saving will! In his treatise, True Devotion of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Louis Marie de Montfort writes of Mary:
“Mary has the authority over the angels and the blessed in heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the power and mission of assigning to saints the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride. Such is the will of the almighty God who exalts the humble, that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary. For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his armies, keeper of his treasure, dispenser of his graces, mediatrix on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful associate in his great works and triumphs.”
On account of her humility, St. Faustina wrote to Mary the following prayer in her Diary: “O sweet Mother of God, I model my life on You; You are for me the bright dawn: In you I lose myself enraptured. O Mother, Immaculate Virgin, In You the divine ray is reflected, Midst storms, ’tis You who teach me to love the Lord, O my shield and defense from the foe (no, 1232). Faustina knew very well that “the more I imitate the Mother of God, the more deeply I get to know God” (Diary, 843).
Do we want to listen to Our Mother Mary? Do we want to love her by delighting her heart because we do God’s will in our lives? In St. Faustina’s Diary Mary shows us how:
“My daughter, at God’s command I am to be, in a special and exclusive way your Mother; but I desire that you, too, in a special way, be My child. I desire, My dearly beloved daughter, that you practice the three virtues that are dearest to Me-and most pleasing to God. The first is humility, humility, and once again humility; the second virtue, purity; the third virtue, love of God. As My daughter, you must especially radiate with these virtues” (no. 1414-1415).
Mary, press us to your Heart by your prayers and your tender maternal love so that we listen to your voices in living these virtues so as to lift our hearts to the Lord. Amen!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap