The Assumption of Mary: A New Presence

 

Mary Assumption
Assumption of the Virgin, art by Guercino (Giovani Francesco Barbieri) 1650 – Detroit Institute of Arts.

 

Mary’s Assumption into heaven does not mean that she traveled away to a far distant land. We imagine heaven to be “up there”. Glory to God in the highest”, we sing in the Gloria, It is not wrong to have this conception, as long as we realize it does not completely convey the reality. Heaven is not a place that lies beyond the limits of the universe, but a dimension we cannot perceive with our earthly senses. Because Mary has been taken up into heaven, she has not therefore left us. Quite the contrary. For that very reason she has penetrated more deeply into the world.

As long as Mary lived in her mortal body, she was bound by time and space. She could not be present in more than one place at a time. When she lived with John after Jesus’ Resurrection, she prayed earnestly for the new Church, but she could not be present when the apostles went out to proclaim the Gospel. But after her Assumption into heaven, all the borders burst, and her whole being, including her body, was glorified. A glorified body has no definite contours. It can be present in different places at the same time and take on cosmic dimensions. Through Mary’s Assumption, she passed over to a universal presence from the limited presence that characterized her life on earth. Always and everywhere Mary is with us, wherever we may be and wherever we may go. She fills the whole universe. She is “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:I). When we pray the “Hail Mary” during the day, on the street or at work, we do not speak into a vacuum. Mary is always present. It can give us great joy to discover that Mary’s Assumption into heaven, which appeared to take her far away, really brought her closer to us. Thanks to the Assumption, she is present at the center of our lives.

Neither should we think Mary is in heaven to enjoy undisturbed peace. As long as the fight between light and darkness continues. Mary is involved. We know that Jesus “always lives to make intercession for [us]” (Heb 7:25) , that he goes to “prepare a place for [us]” (Jn 14:2). But he does not do it without his “helper” (cf. Gen 2:20). Even in heaven, Mary lives only for her Son and his redemptive work.

~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Our Lady is so transparent, so luminous, that she might be taken for light itself; yet for all that, she is but a mirror of the Sun of Justice.
~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.

Let us draw near to the Virgin most pure, who is all lightsome, so that she may lead us to understand Him whom she understands so deeply.
~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.

 

 

 

Wishing you all a very blessed feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

 

For a Lover of Nature

I recently got back from a wonderful trip to Scotland. My daughter and I visited the beautiful and magical city of Edinburgh and later on we took a full day tour to visit the Scottish Highlands—It was such a wonderful experience to be surrounded by majestic mountains and valleys, visiting small Victorian little towns, cruising the dark and deep waters of Loch Ness with breathtaking views followed by a visit to Urquhart Castle. And feeding the Highlands Cows—Unforgettable! What an amazing day we had!

I’m feeling very humble and blessed by the extraordinary experiences we had with my daughter during our visit to Scotland. So thankful to our Beloved Lord for blessing us with this amazing opportunity to travel together and treasure those moments for a lifetime.

Here I share a few of the photos I took during our visit to this beautiful land of many treasures. . .

 

EDI122
Relaxing at sunset with a view of Edinburgh Castle in the background (My photo – July 2019)

 

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Our climb to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh…Philippians 4:13  (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI saint patrick church
Attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh on July 16th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel ❤ A very blessed day! (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI Little Flower
Saint Thérèse ❤ you are always near! Thank you Little Flower! At St. Patrick’s Church, July 16th 2019 (My photo)

 

Edi Lochness 2
Cruising on Loch Ness…Enjoying all the beauty and wonder! God’s creation is awesome and a precious gift to us all! (My photo – July 2019)

 

Urquhart castle
Visiting the ruins of Urquhart Castle. . . (My photo – July 2019)

 

Highland coo
Visiting the Highland Coo! They are so docile and cute! (My photo – July 2019)

 

roses in EDI
Beautiful roses everywhere in Edinburgh and The Highlands…The climate favors them for their growth and beauty! Here I took this photo in the Victorian town of Pitlochry (July 2019).

 

EDI me and my baby girl
The Highlands! So grateful to God for this unforgettable trip! (My photo – July 2019)

 

For a Lover of Nature

Your valley trails its beauty through your poems,
the kindly woods, the wide majestic river.
Earth is your god—or goddess, you declare,
mindful of what good time must one day give her
of all you have. Water and rocks and trees
hold primal words born out of Genesis.

But Love is older than these.

You lay your hand upon the permanence
of green-embroidered land and miss the truth
that you are trusting your immortal spirit
to earth’s sad inexperience and youth.
Centuries made this soil; this rock was lifted 
out of aeons; time could never trace 
a path to water’s birth or air’s inception,
and so, you say, these be your godly grace.
Earth was swept into being with the light—
dear earth, you argue, who will soon be winning
your flesh and bones by a most ancient right.

But Love had no beginning.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.  

 

 

 

 

 

An Inner Fire

Dove with rose
Art source unknown

 

Every human being has an innate longing for an inner fire. The fire we long for is the Holy Spirit. Once the Spirit begins to burn in us, all the old, bad habits will successively be driven out. For this reason, the fire will create conflict. It isn’t our purpose to create conflict, but we must not be afraid of it when it comes. Conflicts, be they exterior and interior, are signs of health if they are a consequence of the Spirit burning within us.

Do not be afraid of the anxiety that the arrival of the Spirit may bring. Don’t go back to the lifeless peace which may have characterized your life up till now. Let yourself be shook up by the Spirit. The peace Jesus promised presupposes a complete reorganization of your life. Don’t be afraid to leave old habits behind; it’s natural at first to feel insecure and unsure. Don’t be afraid of the truth, even if it is uncomfortable.

Do not be afraid of becoming a sign of contradiction either. If the Spirit burns in you, you necessarily become a different person. You become a stranger in the world, a pilgrim on the earth. You will disappoint some people; others will consider you naïve. But you are not seeking the world’s peace. Jesus says: “…my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (Jn 14:27).

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Come, Holy Spirit, come! 

 

 

Happy & Blessed Pentecost Sunday!

 

 

 

All for God

 

Jesus The Forest Meeting by Amy McCutcheon
Art by Amy McCutcheon

 

Happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!
~ Matthew 13:16

 

We must resolve to put the whole of our sense life at God’s service. We must refuse to use our senses except when their exercise is for the honour and glory of God.

We can so easily presume that the whole bent of our being is to God, and fail to recognize how we allow ourselves dangerous distractions; how we allow ourselves to notice and nose into other people’s business; how we yield to useless curiosity, indulge ourselves in countless ways.

Hold up! Fix your eyes on the perfect Son. Hold yourself in your hands so that your activities are controlled, that you know what you are doing, and are not drifting by carelessly occupied with trifles, occupied with yourself.

Our whole way of life should be helping us to this true recollection, this concentration on God. Sustained discipline is absolutely essential if we are to belong to God.

‘Many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see and never saw it, to hear what your hear, and never heard it.’ Let’s weigh these words.

How utterly privileged we are to know Christ Jesus our Lord. How privileged to have access to his words, his thoughts . . . Do we really see this as an unheard of privilege?  We shall answer that question truthfully by looking at what we do. Are we always most seriously, with everything we have in us, trying to get to know him and trying to live according to his teaching?

. . . The torch is sweeping slowly round our room. Do we want to see the cobwebs? Do we want to remove them? Or do we allow our eyes to rest on them for a brief moment only, and then go on just as before.

 

~ A Meditation by Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

 

Jesus, holy and beloved
hold me always in your ‘yes’.
Let nothing matter to me from this moment
but the Father’s good pleasure,
the coming of his kingdom.
Let me not matter to myself.
I have only one short life in which to love
in difficulty and pain,
trusting in the dark and non-seeming.
Opportunities come and pass forever,
never to return.
Let me not miss one,
let my life be lived in total love:

There is no other way of living a truly human life.
 

Facing Him

Eucharistia by ladislav Zaborsky
Art by Ladislav Záborský

 

Faith is a gift of God. Only he can bestow it, and it is a gift that he passionately desires to give us. However, he can only give it to us if we ask for it.

When we ask for faith, we are turning our face towards his face, and he can look into our heart. He loves to see us facing him, but we for some reason try to avoid this. Even while begging him for favors, we close the eyes of our soul, so as to avoid looking at him. Yet he is always looking at us, with deep love.

It is faith that allows us to enter peacefully into the dark night each of us faces at one time or another. Faith walks simply, like a child, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come, “for eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God reserves for those who love him.” Faith is a kind of folly, a folly of God himself.

Faith breaks through barriers. When our face is turned to God in faith, our eyes meet his, and each day becomes more luminous. The veil between God and us becomes thinner until it seems we can almost reach out and touch him.

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty


“For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:38-39


 

A Pearl of Great Price

Pearl of great price by JVC
A pearl of great price, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

“The higher he ascends the less he understands,
because the cloud is dark which lit up the night;
Whoever knows this remains always in unknowing
and transcending all knowledge.”
~ Saint John of the Cross

The contemplative must lean on pure faith, as Saint John of the Cross affirms insistently. By this teaching, he maintains that our hunger for God in prayer depends in an absolute sense on a belief in his immediate presence to our soul despite what can seem at times the stark emptiness of the dark hour. In this teaching, faith is essential to the contemplative life, just as breathing is to the human person.
The certitude upon which the deeper life of contemplative prayer rests can only be firmly grounded in the unquestioning dispositions of a soul’s deeper faith. Faith establishes the certitude of the divine presence, without which prayer might be thought simply a lonely cry released into the vast reaches of an empty night. By faith our soul knows that prayer draws a mysterious response from God, even when it seems to be an answer of silence. The silence conceals God’s longing for our soul—a truth known often only by faith. It is a faith always rooted in the clear teaching of the Catholic doctrinal tradition, without which no contemplative life can survive.

The truth of God is an inexhaustible mystery and therefore always an incitement and goad to our intelligence. Even with an intensity of faith, we confront the incomprehensibility of God. There is no eventual arrival in prayer at a comfortable knowledge of God. He is infinite love and beyond our human understanding. Contrary to what may be our expectation, greater faith does not grant a more expansive knowledge of God. What it does more often is reduce our knowledge of him to a blind certitude of his living presence. We realize in deeper prayer how real he is and, likewise, how unknown he still is. This inability to overcome barriers of blindness in our knowledge of God is the normal condition of contemplative prayer after a certain point. Over time, we learn more about the limits of knowledge, while at the same time recognizing that there is no limit to love. A loving encounter with God can remain our great desire in prayer even in blindness and incomprehension. And God, indeed, does make the reality of his presence known at times, though not perhaps to our satisfaction. For his presence is not a reality that the soul, even with great love, can embrace as a possession. Always God slips back into hiding, so that our love, too, may be inexhaustible.   

~ A Meditation by Father Donald Haggerty