The Feast of the Assumption


Today is the feast of the Assumption. There are times I have difficulties believing in the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Did she die and then rose and was taken up to heaven? I can imagine the human spirit, free from being imprisoned in a body, soaring up to the skies. But to be taken up into heaven, body and spirit? That taxes my imagination.

But doesn’t the fact that we came from dust, stardust to be sure, also tax the imagination? How can a clump of dirt develop to grow a consciousness and acquire free will? So, it took some billion years from the explosion of the stars to the birth of life and the coming of man on earth. But in the scheme of cosmic events, that was just a moment in time. So, for one moment in time, Mary shows us what we will all eventually become, sharers in her son’s resurrection, as she was assumed into heaven.

That somehow makes sense for me, rationally. But deep in my heart, there is also that stubborn refusal to be tied to the ground forever. I long to be free and soar to the heights. In the words of my favorite poets, Simon and Garfunkle, the man who’s tied up to the ground gives the world its saddest sound. Mary’s assumption gives reality to my profound yearning and longing: to be a sparrow rather that a snail, to be a hammer rather than a nail, to be a forest rather than a street, to see the earth beneath my feet – instead of being buried in it.

Mary’s assumption is a celebration of life and what it ultimately holds in store for us. That makes a lot of sense to me. And that is reason for my soul to also magnify the Lord.

And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.’ Luke 1:39-42,46,53-56

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