Assumption of Mary, Our Mother - Aug 15

The first reading from the Book of the Apocalypse conveys its message through the medium of extraordinary visions and dreams. The description of a ‘woman clothed with the sun’ is imagery linked to a goddess in classical antiquity. Traditional commentaries identify her as Mary the new Eve, but she could also stand for Wisdom personified, the heavenly Jerusalem, or the Church. She also stands for Israel, whose pangs of birth represent the trials to be endured before the coming of the Messiah. The dragon, God’s traditional opponent in the Hebrew Scriptures, is an ancient symbol of chaos and all the forces of evil opposed to God.

In the second reading from the letter to the Corinthians, St Paul, in line with Mary’s representation as the new Eve, refers to Jesus as the new Adam: “just as all men die in Adam, so all are brought to life in Christ.” If the first reading referred to the troubled beginning, the birth pangs, so ‘the end’ will see a responsible son, Jesus, handing over ‘the kingdom’, the world renewed and freed from every oppression, to the Father. Christ is the first fruit of God’s saving action, and after him salvation is assured to all who follow him. On the feast of the assumption, if Mary is seen as the new Eve, then she shares intimately in the fruit of the redemption and so is assumed body and soul into heaven.

Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal in India has been described as a “love song in marble.” Completed in 1645, this magnificent marble mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan, India’s Mogul emperor, in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz. Shah Jahan loved her deeply, calling her his Taj Mahal, meaning ‘The Pearl of the Palace.’ But the princess died giving birth to their fourteenth child and the emperor was inconsolable. So he summoned a great architect from Persia to build the Taj Mahal, telling him that it must be ‘the one perfect thing in the world.’ Seventeen years were needed to build this enchanting edifice of gleaming white marble embroidered with flashing jewels. It is an endearing monument to love that still inspires tourists, artists and writers from all over the world. This beautiful love story gives us some idea of how much God must have loved Mary, the mother of Jesus. Today’s feast of her Assumption into heaven is proof of this. By raising her from the dead and taking her into heaven, body and soul, God demonstrated his undying love for Mary. Moreover he did not have to build a Taj Mahal to memorialize Mary. Her own body is itself a magnificent temple of the Holy Spirit.
- Albert Cylwicki in ‘His Word Resounds’
Today’s gospel speaks of the visitation of Elizabeth by her cousin Mary. While Mary is the visitor here, she is also the visited. As the Irish theologian Anne Thurston put it so beautifully, Mary is blessed among women because she, like her friend and cousin Elizabeth, is ‘hospitable to God’s visitation.’ In Luke, Mary is the one who hears God’s word, acts upon it and brings forth Christ to the world. From her body is formed the incarnate Son of God, a symbol that the body of every Christian is a bearer of God’s presence. Mary is pronounced to be blessed because she is the mother of the Lord, the first time that word is used of Jesus in the Gospel. We see her not only helping someone who is in need, her aged cousin Elizabeth in the sixth month of her pregnancy, but also saying a beautiful prayer.   Mary’s importance is not limited to giving us hope about the afterlife; she gives every Christian hope in the daily struggles of life because it is the ‘Almighty who has done great things for me.’ She is a woman of the people, whose song delights in God’s choice of her, whose spirit is raised because God has not overlooked his lowly handmaid. For many people Mary’s song the ‘Magnificat’ expresses their hope in the liberating power of God. Mary’s song is revolutionary because it speaks of real and powerful changes that can be brought about in the world when God’s preferences and God’s choices are taken seriously.   She is the mother of all who are oppressed and overlooked and scorned. Mary says that God has dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. This is the beginning of the moral revolution that Christianity has begun and which even today is nowhere near completion. She is the little one, the lowly servant, made great by the choice of God. And the good news is that the same choice is extended to us, to all the lowly by God. Mary asserts that God has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. This is the beginning of the social revolution, again barely begun and certainly not over yet. People talk of the need of respect and care for others, of concern for women and for helping the poor, but so often all this is talked about but little is done in practice. Mary gives us an example of concern by putting herself at the service of a woman in need. She is modeling what Jesus will later embody in himself: a radically new conduct with women and his identification of himself with the lowest of the low.

Call no man worthless….
A story is told of a wandering university student in the Middle Ages. As with many university students in those times when universities were being founded, he traveled to wherever he heard that good teachers were. Also as with many of his fellow students, he was dirty, ill-fed, and ill-clothed. He fell seriously ill and was taken to hospital almost dead. The doctors consulted around his bed. They said his life appeared worthless, and the best use they could put his body to would be medical experimentation. They spoke in Latin not realizing that he was a university student whose classes were in that language. Hearing them, he opened his eyes and said to them in Latin, “Call no man worthless for whom Jesus has died.”
- Harold Buetow in ‘God Still Speaks: Listen!’
In the last part of Mary’s song of praise she said that God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. This was indicative of the economic revolution started by Christianity, a revolution hardly begun even today. In today’s world each one thinks only of himself or herself, we look for what we can grab, what we can get. The operative slogan is “What’s in it for me?” Moved by Mary’s example the Christian needs to move the focus from self to others. Christians cannot be comfortable; they need to be disturbed while anybody else is in dire need. In celebrating the feast of the assumption, Mary, the symbol of redeemed humanity has opened a window for us on the radical transformation possible through the power of Jesus. Mary voices God’s opposition to tyranny and his determination to pull down the powers that oppress the needy. It is hardly surprising then that it is the poor that look up to her most for help. “Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, sought thy intercession was ever left unaided…”

Fr. Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

The Gospel of Jesus and Mary

There is an old story about a workman on a scaffolding high above the nave of a cathedral who looked down and saw a woman praying before a statue of Mary. As a joke, the workman whispered, "Woman, this is Jesus." The woman ignored him. The workman whispered again, more loudly: "Woman, this is Jesus." Again, the woman ignored him. Finally, he said aloud, "Woman, don't you hear me? This is Jesus." At this point the woman looked up at the crucifix and said, "Be still now, Jesus, I'm talking to your mother." Why do Catholics treasure Marian devotions and doctrines that their non-Catholic brothers and sisters do not? It is because, I think, the Catholic Church is trying to tell the full story, to proclaim the full gospel.
But isn't the gospel all about Christ and what he did and taught? Yes and no. The gospel is about Christ in the same way that the story of the Fall is about Adam. "For as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:22). That is why we call Christ the new Adam. But as soon as we say that, we become aware of a missing link. The story of the Fall is not only the story of Adam but the story of Adam and Eve. If Jesus is the new Adam, who then is the new Eve? Mary is the new Eve. Just as the full story of our Fall cannot be told without Eve, so also the full story of our Redemption cannot be told without Mary.

There are many revealing parallels between the old Adam and Eve on the one hand and the new Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary, on the other. Here are some of them.  

-In the old order, the woman (Eve) came from the body of the man (Adam), but in the new order the man (Jesus) comes from the body of the woman (Mary).

-In the old order, the woman (Eve) first disobeyed God and led the man (Adam) to do the same, in the new order the woman (Mary) first said "Yes" to God (Luke 1:38) and raised her son Jesus to do likewise.  

-Adam and Eve had a good time together disobeying God, Jesus and Mary suffered together doing God's will. The sword of sorrow pierced their hearts equally (John 19:34; Luke 2:35b).

-In the old order Adam and Eve shared immediately in the resulting consequences and punishments of the Fall. In the new order, similarly, both Jesus and Mary share immediately in the resulting consequences and blessings of the Redemption, the fullness of life with God; Jesus through the Ascension and Mary through the Assumption.

The doctrine of the Assumption teaches that at the end of her earthly existence, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken up (assumed), body and soul, into heaven. That means, therefore, that there are two human bodies we know to be in heaven with God at this time: the human body of Jesus and that of Mary. In this doctrine we see the collaboration of man and woman in the work of our salvation all the way from the Fall to the Redemption to sharing in the fruit of Redemption in heaven. Without the Assumption to balance the Ascension, the man Jesus alone without the woman Mary would be enjoying the fullness of salvation with God and we would be telling only a part of the story. The Assumption is the ultimate proof of the equality of man and woman before God. It also shows the sacredness and eternal destiny of the human body, including the woman’s body which is desecrated by pornography and the sex trade. The Assumption enables us to tell the full story, the full gospel that salvation is for all Men, male and female, and for the whole Man, body and soul.

Marian doctrine and devotion, properly understood and practised, does not lead believers away from, but rather more deeply into, the mystery of Christ. The woman in prayer who thinks that Jesus should keep still because she is talking with his mother has lost sight of the perfect harmony of wills and hearts between Mary and Jesus which we see most clearly in the Wedding Feast at Cana where Mary commands us: "Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you" (John 2:5).

Creighton Online Ministries: Contemplating The Assumption of Mary

Mary looked over at John writing at his table and smiled. He had always looked so young and the years had not aged him very much. She could understand why Jesus had such a special place in his heart for John, with his gentle ways and his easy love for people.  

She gathered her cloak around her against the cold and closed her eyes as she thought about the many years of her life. So much of it was beyond understanding and yet she believed it and accepted it. She had been given a courage, faith and humility that could only be a gift from God. How else could she have overcome her fears and said "Yes" when Gabriel asked her to be the mother of the Savior? Her son, Jesus, had been a wonder in her life. She had not always understood all of what he did but she knew he had a special role on earth. Their hearts had been bound together in faith and an unbreakable love. She had watched him leave home, teach, heal and challenge the authorities. Her heart had been pierced with such sorrow when he was arrested and tortured and finally put to death. Her faith in the Father had carried her through those days, and the incredible joy-filled days that came after. 

"Imma?" John, said using the most intimate form of "mother." He laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. "You are so quiet these days." She smiled at him with affection. "Dearest John, my life has been long and I have so much to be grateful for. These years together have been so full."  

It was true. In the weeks after he had risen, Jesus had spoken to them of a new order, a new way of life. She had resisted the urge to cling to him and not let him go again. She had to trust. "I will be with you always," he had said. In her heart, she knew it was true and once again opened her life fully to God's will. She watched with joy as he was taken up into the clouds. In the years that had followed, his message and life had given hope and meaning to a growing number of followers. She had spoken to so many of the disciples and followers in those times.  

Jesus was in her life, too, in a vivid and very real way. She felt his presence with her as she grew tired. She spoke to him from her heart constantly, just as she did when he was on earth. She felt a strong connection that was as unexplainable as it was real. She closed her eyes again in thought. 

"Imma," came the familiar, loving voice. "Blessed are you among women." She knew it was different. She was not in John's house but with Jesus, standing in a place that filled her with a different kind of joy. "My son," she said softly as they embraced. She felt his cheek firmly against hers.  

She did not know how or why. There were no questions and no answers for this. He had promised her she would be with him and the Father. She touched her body in wonder and knew she had been drawn to a different place by power not her own. It was her same body and yet different, more vibrant.  

"You said 'Yes' to the Father's request, Imma," Jesus said to her. "Your life was prepared in a special way and you followed it with such faith. You made my work possible." 

She knew that somehow she was experiencing the resurrection in a way others would have to wait for. As she had so many times before, she paused and opened her heart in prayer. "The Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his Name."



By Fr. Tony Kadavil

 Synopsis: We honor Mary, venerate her, express our love for her and never worship her. Why do we honor Mary: 1) Mary herself gives the most important reason in  her “Magnificat:” “All generations (ages) will call me blessed because the “The Mighty One has done great things for me” a) by choosing  Mary as the mother of Jesus  b) by filling her with His Holy Spirit twice, namely at the Annunciation and at Pentecost, c) by making her  “full of grace,” the paragon or embodiment of all virtues, d) by allowing her to become the most active participant with Christ, her Son, in our redemption, by suffering in mind what Jesus suffered in body. 2) Mary is our heavenly Mother.  Jesus gave us his Mother as our Mother from the cross: “Woman, behold your son.” … “Behold your mother” (John 19: 26-27). 3) Mary is the supreme model of all virtues, especially holiness of life (“full of grace”), obedience to the will of God (“fiat”) and true humility (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you wish”). 

Reasons why we believe in the dogma of Assumption:  Pope Pius XII in the papal document, Munificentimus Deus gives four reasons why we believe in the dogma of assumption of Mary. 1) The uninterrupted tradition about Mary’s death and assumption starting from the first century. 2) The belief expressed in all the ancient liturgies of the Church. 3) The negative evidence of the absence and veneration of a tomb of Mary while most of the apostles have their tombs. 4) The possibility of bodily assumption warranted in the Old Testament in the cases of Enoch (Gen. 5:24), perhaps Moses (Deut. 34:5), and especially Elijah (II Kg. 2:1).5) The theological reasons: a) The degeneration of the body after death is the consequence of “original sin,” and Mary, as “immaculately conceived,” is exempted from the post-mortem decay of the body.  b) As receiver of the fullness of grace and holiness, as mother of Jesus and as co-redeemer, Mary’s place is with her son Jesus, the redeemer, in the abode of holiness, heaven. 

Life messages: 1) As Mary’s Assumption was a reward for a holy life, this feast invites us to keep our bodies pure and holy.  Paul gives three additional reasons: a) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, b) our body parts are the members of Christ’s body, and c) our bodies are to be glorified on the day of the Last Judgment. 

2)   We are given an assurance of hope in our resurrection and a source of inspiration during moments of despair and temptations. 

3)   We receive a message of total liberation from all our bondages: impure, unjust and uncharitable thoughts, desires, words and actions, addiction to evil habits, drugs, alcohol and gambling, pornography and sexual aberrations.   


1: Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal has been described as a “love song in marble.” Completed in 1645, the magnificent marble mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan, India’s Mogul emperor, in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (= “the chosen one of the Palace”). Her maiden name was   Princess Arjumand. Shah Jahan loved her deeply, calling her his “Taj Mahal,” meaning “The Pearl of the Palace.” But Princess Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to their fourteenth child, and the emperor was inconsolable. So, he summoned a great architect from Persia to build the Taj Mahal, telling him that it must be “the one perfect memorial in the world.” Seventeen years were needed to build this enchanting edifice of gleaming white marble embroidered with flashing jewels. It is an enduring monument to love that still inspires tourists, artists and writers from all over the world. This beautiful love story gives us some idea of how much God must have loved Mary, the mother of Jesus. Today’s feast of her Assumption into Heaven is proof of this. By raising her from the dead and taking her into Heaven – body and soul – God demonstrated His undying love for Mary. Like Shah Jahan, God could not bear the death of His beloved. However, God could do what no Indian emperor could do – raise His beloved from the dead and restore her to life even more beautiful than before. Moreover, God didn’t have to build a Taj Mahal to memorialize Mary. Her glorified body is itself a magnificent temple of the Holy Spirit. 
(Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds). ( Fr. Tony

# 2: Carl Jung on the Assumption: It was in 1950, that the famed Lutheran Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, an influential thinker and the founder of Analytical Psychology, remarked that the Papal announcement of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, in 1950, was “the most important religious event since the Reformation.” (Storr, p. 324). The Assumption means that, along with the glorified masculine body of Jesus in Heaven, there is also a glorified feminine body of his mother, Mary.  According to Jung, “bodily reception of the Virgin into Heaven” (Ibid.) meant that “the Heavenly bride was united with the Bridegroom,” (Ibid., p. 322) which union “signifies the hieros gamos” [the sacred marriage], (Ibid.) Acknowledging that the Assumption “is vouched for neither in Scripture nor in the tradition of the first five centuries of the Christian Church,” Jung observes that:  “the Papal declaration made a reality of what had long been condoned.  This irrevocable step beyond the confines of historical Christianity is the strongest proof of the autonomy of archetypal images.” (Storr, p. 297). Jung remarks that “the Protestant standpoint . . . is obviously out of touch with the tremendous archetypal happenings in the psyche of the individual and the masses, and with the symbols which are intended to compensate the truly apocalyptic world situation today.” (Ibid., pp. 322-323) Jung added: “Protestantism has obviously not given sufficient attention to the signs of the times which point to the equality of women.  But this equality requires to be metaphysically anchored in the figure of a ‘divine’ woman. . ..  The feminine, like the masculine, demands an equally personal representation.” (Ibid., p. 325) [Quotes from : Jung, C. G.  Modern Man in Search of a Soul; translated by W. S. Dell and C. F. Baynes. (Princeton, New Jersey: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, San Diego. 1933); and Storr, Anthony (Ed.).  The Essential Jung. (Princeton University Press, 1983).]  ( Fr. Tony

# 3: There is a legend about the Assumption of the Virgin Mary – The tradition holds that Blessed Virgin Mary died in Jerusalem (or Ephesus?) and during the last moments of her earthly life all surviving Apostles were present there except St. Thomas, who was then preaching in India. He then was miraculously brought there, and he insisted on seeing the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But to everyone’s surprise, her tomb was found empty, excepting her clothes.( Fr. Tony

# 4: Like is attracted to like. Such attraction continues to take place every day, even though we may not always be aware of it. People who have similar likes, interests, and goals are drawn to one another. This is the reason why there are fraternities and sororities, why there are country club people, Rotarians, Masons, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver, and Daughters of the American Revolution, St.Vincent de Paul Society, Legion of Mary, and the like, The members all have things in common which draw them together. That is why we also have the Ku Klux Klan, street gangs and the Mafia. Like is attracted to like. Ever notice how children follow along after their mothers? From one room to another, they tag along. And the more they are near their mothers, the more they become like them. They begin thinking, acting, and being like their mothers. We all have in common a very special mother we are honoring today. We have been drawn here together to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus, and our mother too, as we recall Mary’s Assumption into Heaven. If like is attracted to like, does that mean we try to emulate her virtues and imitate her by learning more about her, by honoring her and by celebrating her feasts? (Fr. Jack Dorsel). ( Fr. Tony

5. Miss Holycheek, the Catholic Sunday school teacher, had just finished explaining the feast of the Assumption to her class.  “Now,” she said, “let all those children who want to go to Heaven to see their Heavenly Mother raise their hands.”  All the children raised their hands except little Marie in the front row.  “Don’t you want to go to Heaven, Marie?” asked Miss Holycheek.  “I can’t,” said Marie tearfully. “My mother told me to come straight home after Sunday school.

6. God is walking around Heaven one day and notices a number of people on the heavenly streets who shouldn’t be there.  He finds St. Peter at the gate and says to him, “Peter, you’ve been remiss in your duties.  You’re letting in the wrong sort of people.” “Don’t blame me, Lord,” replies Peter.  “I turn them away just like You said to.  Then they go around to the back door and Jesus’ mother lets them in.”

10-Additional anecdotes 

1) “Why do they minimize your beauty?” A charming story is told of the nineteenth century Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes fame. Contemporary artists were anxious for her to describe the woman she had seen in the grotto. So, one after the other, they showed her the most famous pictures of Mary. The young Bernadette was shown the beautiful Madonnas done by Murillo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, El Greco, etc. To each she shook her head in disappointment. To their surprise, she said, “The lady looks like none of these paintings.” To herself she said, “My mother, why do they minimize your beauty?” (FrJames). ( Fr. Tony

2) The “bowing Procession:” In a small town in the hills surrounding Rome, the Feast of the Assumption is celebrated with what’s called the “bowing procession.” From one end of the town, the townspeople process, carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary. From the other end of the town, another group of townspeople march into town, carrying a statue of Jesus. Mary’s Son comes to rendezvous with His Mother. In front of the parish Church, the two groups meet. A ton of flowers decorates the church. Jesus and His Mother solemnly bow to each other. The villagers carry the statues of Mary and her Son side by side into the Church. It’s God the Son leading his Mother to her throne in heaven. ( Fr. Tony 

3) Body, soul or both: Today’s feast also shows us that God values our bodies. They are not only important to Him – they are sacred! There are two extremes of thought in regard to our bodies. One considers the body as our number one treasure. Ads and commercials usually feature people with exceptional looks. To be successful, accepted, and loved, they tell us, depends upon how we look. We are to watch our weight, keep in shape, and smell just right. If we don’t pamper our bodies and treat them royally, we’ll be social, business, and sexual flops. Nobody will want us around. As for the importance of our soul and our spiritual life? Forget it! They consider such things nonexistent and absurd. The other extreme of thought about the body is to look upon it as merely a machine for us to operate in this world. Its value is only its usefulness. To enhance it with cosmetics and perfume, to dress it up and make it look attractive, to diet, exercise, and look at it in the mirror – all that is not only a waste of time, but sinful. The soul and its spiritual condition are all that is important for us. We are to think of our body only when necessity requires. But God is telling us on this feast of the Assumption that to Him, both are important – our body and our soul. They are both to be valued, and they are to be given the attention and honor due them. (Fr. Jack Dorsel). ( Fr. Tony

4) “God helps those who help themselves.” If you are watching television and want a dish of ice cream, you aren’t going to have any unless you get up, go to the kitchen and scoop it up yourself. If you are in a movie theater and decide you want some popcorn, you aren’t going to get any unless you go to the lobby and buy it. Or are you one of those people who have someone waiting on them hand and foot? Are you one of those capable people, by that I mean one who is not an invalid, who expect to be waited on when they want something? Well, if you are, I’ve got some shocking news for you. That sort of thing is not going to work with God. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: “God helps those who help themselves.” By that is meant not the selfish and self-centered. What is meant by “God helps those who help themselves,” is that, for those who try to do their duty, who try to help others, who try to live the teachings of Christ, God will take it from there and perfect the results of their efforts, if not here, at least in the next life. The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, spent her earthly life trying to carry out the will of God. Her Son crowned her efforts by drawing her into Heaven with himself and perfecting her body into the likeness of his. Thus, we say, Mary was assumed into heaven. (Fr. Jack Dorsel). ( Fr. Tony

5) “Why did you go to Church today?” someone might ask us. “This isn’t Sunday, its only Thursday.” “It’s a holy day of obligation. The feast of the Assumption,” we answer. “Oh,” the person says, and might add, “What’s that?” Most Catholics won’t be questioned about today’s feast. Many Catholics might not even remember it. But you and I do. We have come to Mass to celebrate it. And we know why we are here. Mary, the Mother of God, was assumed body and soul into heaven by her Son Jesus Christ where she was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.  (Fr. Jack Dorsel). ( Fr. Tony

6) “WHY ME?” Ever ask yourself that question? Or voice it to someone else. Why me? Why did this happen to me? If and when we ever do say “Why me?” is it not usually in regard to something very unpleasant that has happened to us? “Why is it that my car had to be the one to find the nail in the road? I’ve had my motel reservations for four months and when I get there, they can’t find my name in the computer. And why, after three weeks of dry, sunny, wonderful weather, did it have to pick my vacation week to rain? Why does the worst always happen to me?” Have you ever thought of saying “Why me?” when something really good happens to you? When the love of your life loves you back, when you get a raise in salary, when the bathing suit you bought five years ago still fits you perfectly, or when the cat goes outside to throw up instead of using your living room rug? “Why me? Why should such wonderful things happen to me? Why am I being treated so well?” That is just what Mary is probably asking God today. “Why is it I am the one you have taken up into Heaven body and soul with such great glory?” (Fr. Jack Dorsel).  ( Fr. Tony

7) “I’m talking to your mother.” There is an old story about a workman on scaffolding high above the nave of a cathedral who looked down and saw a woman praying before a statue of Mary. As a joke, the workman whispered, “Woman, this is Jesus.” The woman ignored him. The workman whispered again, more loudly: “Woman, this is Jesus.” Again, the woman ignored him. Finally, he said aloud, “Woman, don’t you hear me? This is Jesus.” At this point the woman looked up at the crucifix and said, “Be still now, Jesus, I’m talking to your mother.” (Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu). ( Fr. Tony

 8) Chairlift to Eggstocke Mountain. In Braunwald, Switzerland, there is, or at least was, a chairlift that can make even the bravest person a bit weak-kneed. This lift is called the Sesselbahn. It is a system of overhead cables attached to high supports built into the rocky slopes of the Eggstocke Mountain. On these cables, chairs are hung which are electrically caused to slide up the cables carrying provisions and people to the Ortstock Haus on the top. Two chairs hang side by side. They are similar to ordinary metal ones with a kind of sunshade over them. There is no protection of any kind, just two chairs dangling in the air with only a narrow footrest, no sides or backs other than a couple of bars. The person with nerve enough to get into one of these chairs is, in the words of the article, “swung up over fearsome abysses and up the face of a mighty rock precipice by invisible power.” Sounds like a risky ride. Yet, many people have gotten into those chairs and made it safely to the top and down again. No accidents were ever reported. But it seems to me that to ride the Sesselbahn chair-lift is to have great faith in a manmade device. Probably we trust manmade things more than we trust in God. What do you think? Today we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Mary allowed herself and her life to rest completely in the hands of God. She did what she thought He wanted her to do, and she trusted that He would take her through to the end and bring her out safe and sound. We could say she got into one of God’s chairs, let God accompany her in the one next to hers, and up they went – all the way over and through the dangers of life and into Heaven. That takes great Faith. (Fr. Jack Dorsel). ( Fr. Tony

9)    Stretch out your frying pan: Two men went fishing.     One man was an experienced fisherman; the other wasn’t.     Every time the experienced fisherman caught a big fish, he put it in his ice chest to keep it fresh.     Whenever the inexperienced fisherman caught a big fish, he threw it back.    The experienced fisherman watched this go on all day and finally got tired of seeing this man waste good fish.     “Why do you keep throwing back all the big fish you catch?” he asked.     The inexperienced fisherman replied, “I only have a small frying pan.” Sometimes, like that fisherman, we throw back the big plans, big dreams, big ideas, and big opportunities that God sends us, because our Faith is too small.  We laugh at that fisherman who didn’t figure out that all he needed was a bigger frying pan; yet how ready are we to increase the size of our Faith? God has big hopes for us – Assumption-sized hopes.     Seeing how His hopes for the Blessed Virgin Mary were so wonderfully fulfilled should help increase our Faith.    It should stretch out our frying pan.     As the angel Gabriel said to Mary long before her glorious Assumption, “nothing is impossible to God” (Lk 1:37). [Frying pan story adapted from Hot Illustrations, copyright 2001, Youth Specialties, Inc.] (E- Priest). ( Fr. Tony

10) Mary Is Our Star of Hope: In pre-Christian times, the pagan religions of ancient Greece and Rome had a very interesting insight into the human soul.     Some of their myths described how great heroes from past ages used to do battle with the gods, either physically or through a contest of wits.     And when a human being won such a battle, one’sreward would be to avoid death and hell (there was no belief in heaven) by being turned into a constellation of stars in the night sky.    By becoming a constellation, one achieved a kind of immortality, because the divine stars, so they thought, never change.     In that way, one would also  inspire and guide future generations, because the stars were used to guide ocean navigation before the invention of the compass.     This charming ancient sentiment was purely mythological and legendary, but it appealed to artists and poets for many centuries.   It seemed to be in harmony with a basic human instinct: the instinct for Heaven, and they felt the need for help to get there. When Christianity came around, this image from pagan poetry found its true fulfillment.     The Blessed Virgin Mary, a human being just like you and me, conquered evil, with the help of God’s grace, through her humility and obedience, undoing the ancient sin of Eve.  And God rewarded her by assuming her, lifting her, into Heaven.    And from Heaven, she is an inspiration and guide for us who are still traveling through the troubled waters of life on earth. And so, from very early times, the Church began to call Mary, the “Star of the Sea”, “Stella Maris” [STELL-uh MAHR-eess] in Latin. (Adapted from Pope Benedict XVI). (E- Priest). ( Fr. Tony