40th Anniversary: Remembering, Transforming and Recommitting
IMAGINING THE ASSUMPTION
It is an accepted fact that there is no single way one should pray. Of the many options available I believe that our imaginations can lead us to the doorway of contemplation. If we sit with a passage from Scripture and enter into it creating a picture of it in our minds, we can turn words into images, let the images come to life, and allow the story to involve us thus drawing us into the narrative. We read the Gospels and visualize the Annunciation, the Christmas scene, the wedding feast at Cana, the crucifixion – all major events in the life of Mary – and imagine details of the scene and what it may have been like for the mother of Jesus. What if we could have been there with her? What would we have felt, seen, heard, chosen to do, if anything?
Last Saturday we celebrated the Assumption, a major feast of the Blessed Virgin.
What does the Bible have to say about this event?
Absolutely nothing. Not one word in Scripture describes or even refers to what Christians have come to believe and celebrate for centuries. But the Church holds as dogma that Mary was assumed, i.e., taken body and soul into heavenly glory, right at the end of her earthly life. We are left totally free to imagine the details of how this occurred. We can imagine that Mary was assumed into heaven at the completion of her life without having to undergo death, or we can imagine her death scene however we see it.
We can envision her (as so many artists have portrayed her) crowned and gowned as a queen escorted by angelic hosts upward into the clouds beyond our vision. We are in awe at the beauty of the victorious scene, the reward for a life of pure love, a life deserving from the moment of her immaculate conception, a life that truly sang “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Or we could imagine her surrendering peacefully into God’s hands all that her life had taught her about being a wife, a mother, a widow, a disciple, a comforter, a wisdom figure, a woman of faith, courage and perseverance through unspeakable pain.
There are endless ways to consider her Assumption. But whatever route you choose to take, you will find there a woman who knows you, your life, your hopes, your potential, your vulnerability, and your pain. She is a mother who lived so perfectly that she was assumed body and soul into heaven, but she is also a woman who is waiting there now to give you a mother’s welcoming hug that even in your wildest dreams you cannot imagine.