Tuesday, August 15, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary today at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. The feast day honoring Mary is celebrated annually on Aug. 15 commemorates the end of her earthly life and her bodily assumption into Heaven.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a day to reflect on the Blessed Mother’s role in salvation, said Cardinal Wuerl as he began his homily. The day “commemorates the dogma of faith 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,’ as promulgated and defined by Pope Pius XII,” he said, referencing the 1950 apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus.
“All the Marian feasts are feasts of Jesus Christ because she is always near her Son and always leads us to him,” the cardinal said. “As Jesus’ first and greatest disciple, she held him in her arms at the stable in Bethlehem, witnessed his first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, wept at the foot of the Cross where Jesus commended her to us as our mother too, rejoiced at his Resurrection, and was with the Apostles in the Upper Room at the first Pentecost as the wind of the Holy Spirit swept over them, empowering them to continue Jesus’ work through his Church.”
“The Assumption does not recognize or highlight a separation of Mary from us, but rather a new form of her closeness to us in the power of the Holy Spirit. She is with her Son in glory, but just as he is present to us in his Church, his Word, the Sacraments, and especially the Eucharist, so, too, she is present to us in her maternal attention to our needs and her intercession on our behalf in request to our prayers.”
“Because she is Mother of the Church, we are the beneficiaries of the immeasurable fruits of the Spirit found in her,” Cardinal Wuerl continued. “Through her maternal protection and intercession, we can obtain pardon for our sins, health in times of sickness, strength of heart when we are weak, consolation in the face of affliction and help when we are in danger.” And she seeks to remain with us, the cardinal said, to guide, protect and intercede for us, and such a spiritual closeness in the power of the Holy Spirit is part of the explanation of why she is so intent on being present to us in manifestations of her body assumed into heaven, he said, and cited Tepeyac, Lourdes, and Fatima as examples.
“The doctrine of the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven is linked with our own hope of resurrection and the life to come. There is a sense in which Mary’s Assumption into heaven prefigures our own bodily resurrection when Christ returns in glory to claim all of the faithful and present to his Father the kingdom of believers, now to be vested in the glory of everlasting life.”
“Each of us is called to this sublime destiny – life eternal. The more receptive we are God’s presence in the Spirit, the more we allow the Lord to work in us and through us, the more his grace will bear the fruit of a new creation, and the more our witness will blossom with love, joy and peace. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in her life and her Assumption into the heavenly city, is the Lord’s sign to each of us of the truth of this Good News,” said Cardinal Wuerl as he concluded the homily.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 94 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C. and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.