Saturday, August 15, 2009

All Will Call Her Blessed

From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.
Luke 1:48,49

Why do we call Mary blessed? Because, in her own words, "the Almighty has done great things for me." Mary is not bragging. She is praising God for blessing her to be chosen as the mother of our Lord.

From its earliest days the Church has held Mary in very high esteem. It began to develop a theology around her based on the theology of our Lord. Some people believe this is getting away from the truth. But it is actually the development of that truth. The Church had to establish its theology of Christ first. Then it could approach other matters. It took almost 400 years to fully develop the doctrine of Christ. Marian theology was well underway by this time.

If Jesus is God then Mary is the Mother of God. If God could not dwell in an unclean vessel then Mary must have been preserved from sin. The Church calls this the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. If she is free from sin by a specific act of God's grace then death would have no claim on her as it does on the rest of us. This leads to the doctrine of the Assumption which we are celebrating today.

The Assumption is the teaching that Mary "fell asleep" and was assumed into heaven body and soul. It is a precursor to the general resurrection at the end of the age. Other saints have been assumed into heaven. The Scripture tells us that Enoch and Elijah had this experience. So it is not out of line to believe that Mary could experience it as well. The Scripture tells us that those who inherit eternal life will reign as kings with our Lord. Therefore, it should not be strange to believe that Mary, because of her unique role, now reigns as the queen of heaven.

The Assumption of the Blessed Mary into heaven serves as a sign of hope for us all. We take courage to know that she is our Mother in the Faith and, as such, offers us her intercessions. We also think of our own reward if we will remain faithful to God to the end. The two are connected as we believe that through our Blessed Mother's prayers we will be made fit for heaven.

If you've never given much thought to the role of our Blessed Mother in our lives and in our salvation, I invite you to prayerfully explore this wonderful truth. Mary is a true Mother to us. We love her, honor her, and with countless generations, pronounce her to be Blessed to the glory of God.

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