REFLECTION on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary
by Diane Bergant CSA
In the Western church this feast celebrates the assumption of Mary into heaven; in the East it commemorates her dormition or her falling asleep. The readings invite us to reflect on the role that she plays in the mystery of our redemption. Whatever we honour in Mary in some way points to her son.
Over the centuries devotion to Mary has been expressed in forms taken from the culture out of which it developed. Sometimes she is pictured as a humble peasant girl. At other times she is depicted as a queen robed in gold of Ophir who rules from heaven. Probably the most familiar pose is that of a mother with her child. Perhaps the most dramatic of these themes is that of the celestial woman from the vision found in the Book of Revelation. It is because of the cosmic significance of Jesus that this tradition has been applied to Mary.
Though the first reading depicts a cosmic woman, the gospel reading characterises Mary as a simple peasant woman intent on offering service to another. However, the words that are placed in her mouth are words of prophetic challenge. She announces the great reversals of God’s good news. The greatness of Mary is a reflection of the greatness of the Son of God whom she bore. He was the first fruits of salvation. He was the victor who won the kingdom. Her part in this victory was to bring him to birth and into maturity.