During the month of August we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
In the West we tend to represent it in a way that evokes the Ascension of the Son, who “goes ahead to prepare a place for us.” We are made for eternity. Mary has reached heaven body and soul. On earth her body loved by harbouring God in its womb walking in his footsteps and serving. In heaven she continues to love. Her soul which was always open to God’s plans continues to humbly dialogue with Him. The capacity to love, serve and listen to God that each person has are called to endure for all eternity. They do not run out nor do they expire. We have to decide to live that way everyday, because no one can guarantee that they know how to love, serve and listen to God in every challenge that life may bring. All that we are: What we have chosen, what we have learned, what constitutes our personality, what we’ve offered will be embraced by God and will continue to be gifted to the world.
The East on the other hand celebrates this feast by emphasizing Mary as the icon of the Church, the new Eve. It evokes the scene of Jesus´ birth. Our Lady appears lying down and the apostles are around her. But she also appears as a girl in the arms of Jesus. Mary was a little one on earth and she continues to be so in Heaven. Mary was aware of her littleness throughout her entire existence. She knew how to live the greatness of her mission in her everyday life and as a woman. She meditated in her heart what she was unable to understand and she didn’t ask for more clarity or more evidence. She was aware of being a creature and this was what made her so docile to God’s will and his affection. She was very brave like children are when they are loved and don’t feel afraid. Like a child she grew and learnt to let God open her mind and heart to the mystery of who He is and His plan of salvation.
Mary leaves this world with what she has given of herself and with the marvels that God worked with her. That’s why she leaves as God’s work of art, as a New Eve, as a noble, trusting woman ready to embrace life with all her strength, wanting to love.
The last few months have shown throughout the world that we are not as great as we thought we were and that death is closer than we would like to admit. It is an opportunity for us to look at our past and present life and to be able to say the final words of Psalm 22: “All this he has done.” All that my life has been, all that I am, I owe it to Him.
Mª Carmen Izquierdo