SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Theme: The Power of Grace
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Saturday August 15 2020
God is unique in all His ways and impeccable in everything He does. In the coming of His only begotten Son in human form, He chose the holy and immaculate womb of the Virgin Mary to accomplish the mystery of the Incarnation; so that filled with the grace from above, this stainless Maiden received the singular honour of being the Mother of her Creator. Her Assumption into heaven is another instance of the manifestation of the “fullness of grace” in her, in the most special of ways. May the merits of the feast of today bring us to share in the promises of God fully accomplished in the Virgin Mary; Amen.
The Feasts in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary bring us to celebrate the great things which the Lord accomplished in her. All of these great things were accomplished by God for the greater glory of His name and for the spiritual edification of all those who believe. The unthinkable and the unimaginable happened to Mary because she believed and trusted in the unfailing power of God. This exemplary and unwavering faith of Mary remains the foundation of the many great things which the Lord accomplished in her. In the words of the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 1:39-56), “the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is His name.” The Assumption of Mary into heaven in body and soul remains one of the fruits of her ideal faith in God and in God’s plan for her; and above all of the operation of the fullness of grace in her. Already present in the teaching and devotion of the Church in her earliest centuries of existence, this article of faith was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on the 1st of November 1950 with the Apostolic Constitution _Munificentissimus Deus_ declaring 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” (n. 44). This declaration of faith of the Church does not actually negate that the Virgin Mary died. However, it affirms that following the course of God’s plan for her, her human body knew no decomposition. Rather, it was assumed into heaven together with her soul. This article of faith is intimately linked to the prerogatives which God, in His infinite mercy and benevolence, had accorded His holy handmaid. Firstly, of being the human Mother of God. Secondly, of being immaculately conceived in the womb of her parents Joachim and Ann for the purpose of being made spotless and irreproachable to contain the mystery of the incarnation. Thirdly, of delivering her Most Holy Child without any corporeal violence for she never conceived Him through corporeal violence, hence perpetually preserving the splendour of her virginity. In all of these, it was still ‘the fullness of grace’ that was at work in her.
In the blessed and holy Virgin Mary, we see what God wishes for all of His children and what the power of grace can achieve in all who place their trust in God. This power can change everything about us when we remain faithful to God and when we trust, without wavering, in the promises of God like the Virgin Mary. She is the model of all the Christian virtues because in her was deposited the ‘the fullness of grace.’ She is never lacking in any grace and that is why all the promises of God were realised in her. Being full of grace she is able to be a dispenser of grace through her powerful intercession. Through her faithfulness to God and trust in His plans and promises, she embodies all the merits of Christ her Son. Mary remains a model for all. By imitating her virtues, we make ourselves available to experience the power and working of God’s grace and to receive in our lives the merits of Christ. In the words of the Second Reading (I Cor 15:20-26), “just as all men and women die in Adam, so all men and women will be brought to life in Christ.” Mary lived and lives for Christ. She now lives in the glory of heaven by that singular act of grace through which she was assumed into heaven in body and soul, so that where Christ is, there she will be also; and from where Christ reigns as King, from there also she reigns as Queen; for “a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown” (Apocalypse 11:19, 12:1-6, 10).
Hail Mary, full of grace and assumed into heaven, be closest to us through your maternal, most powerful and virginal intercession, that we may grow in faith and trust in the promises of God; that we may listen to your Son Jesus Christ and do whatever He commands; and that the power of the Holy Spirit may be most fruitful in us, in the Church and in the world; Amen.
Happy Solemnity of the Assumption; Fr Cyril CCE