With gratitude and praise

Today we celebrate the whole arc of the life of Saint Mary, of all people the one who most completely said Yes to God. In the readings we hear echoes of the texts for the Annunciation and the Visitation, and at last today we celebrate God’s own Fiat upon the life of Mary: “Amen, be it unto her according to my Word.”

Does Mary’s life, and most particularly her death, have anything to say about what are we doing here?

“We have died,” and with Saint Mary, “our life is hid with Christ in God.” Whatever else we may be doing, as long as our life here shall last we live witnessing to that death into the living Christ in a particular way.

We do something like this here, but with certain joy because however invisible at the moment, that future has already been given to humanity from the beginning. Jesus said to Julian,

“Behold and see that I have done all this before thy prayer, and now thou art and thou prayest to Me.”…And in contemplating this we ought to pray with gratitude for the deed that is now being done—and that is to pray that He rule us and guide us to His honor in this life, and bring us to His bliss—and for that He has done everything. What He intends is this: that we understand that He does everything, and that we pray for that.

Saint Mary got this from the start, and in the strength of that understanding became so completely surrendered to God that by the end of her life, the tradition says, she was assumed, taken bodily up into heaven, which is to say, into Jesus. Just like the bread of the Eucharist, Saint Mary had so abandoned herself to God’s love, to God’s will and purpose, that there was no longer any distance between accidents and substance, between God and herself, between Lover and beloved.

“As the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before the nations.” Through Saint Mary, God has caused praise to spring up before the nations. May this gift be given to us as, in her company, we witness to life and to death and to the all-encompassing mercy of God.

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