Monday, August 15, 2016

Daily word, Assumption of Mary, 15 Aug 16

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary (15 Aug 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J., 8-Day Directed Retreat
Being Absorbed
It is easy to fix on heaven in this solemnity. The collect recognizes both earth and heaven: We [on earth] pray [to be] attentive to the things above so we may [be] sharers of [Mary’s] glory.1 Retreat helps us be more aware we share that glorious life now—although partially. Perhaps our earthly ‘now’ blinds us, so to say, from the ‘not yet’ of God’s reign—God’s desire for the world—awaiting us. Our triune God longs for us to announce God’s desire by our actions and choices.

To be attentive to the things above focuses on God’s desire Jesus announced by his actions and choices. To be atten-tive to the things above questions us: do we cherish more the values of the world or God’s love and mercy? Does money, position, control or other ways of the world seduce us? For most of us it is not about having nothing; it is about how lightly or how tightly we hold our possessions and our prestige. Mary had little; she felt in the marrow of her bones that God’s love and mercy were the lifeblood of God’s desire not personal possessions or reputation.  Letting ourselves get absorbed in Mary may help more than doctrine—or this homily.

Who is this into whom we let ourselves be absorbed? Mary is our model and mother not because she shares the glory of her son. She is: our mother because Jesus gave her to us; our model for she valued God’s love for her and her people above all. When we let ourselves be absorbed in Mary we notice she was a virgin in a culture which valued many children over few and no children; her virginity guaranteed her little from her culture.

Perhaps easier to notice on retreat may be her unsensational encounter with God’s messenger: God’s angel brought God’s desire quietly while Mary was alone; when the angel left she responded simply—she attended Elizabeth. Her compassion overflowed her candid, lyric prayer: it united her more closely to her people to whom God had long drawn close. Simple things of great significance.

They invite us to be absorbed in Mary. Absorbed in Mary helps us see more clearly and honestly. More clearly: the grace or graces of today and the way another may be deepening or the way we may be shying away. More honestly: how we are responding to what Mary’s son offers us.

Take some time before you retire this evening: ask Jesus’ Spirit to free your mind and heart to imagine Mary visiting you. How is she dressed? Notice her complexion; the texture of her clothing. If she speaks to you note your response to her—even if it is a feeling and not words. Close with a Hail Mary. She who first shared in risen Jesus’ joy desires we deepen our hope in his joy so we may live it as ours now.
  1.  Roman Missal, the Mass of the Day.

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