I’ve written about it at Faith and Family Live, but it remains something strange to me, something I’m just not used to. It’s hard to explain how I’m drawn to it — it’s a feast of Mama Mary, after all! — and how I’m confused by it, how I want to celebrate and how I struggle to justify my joy, how I tear up and how I look heavenward.
I think it’s lovely, don’t get me wrong. It’s an example of how God loves me personally and all of us individually. He thinks enough of us to make sure we have a heavenly mother! He is sharing His Own mom!
This year has been a whirlwind. It started with a death that rocked our world and continued with terrifying health problems with our oldest daughter. It has included news of a pregnancy and watching the ongoing health struggles of Poppa Gene.
There have been a lot of tears this year, more in eight months than I would have thought an entire decade could hold.
And so it is that we come to a major Marian feast, the Assumption.
It is on this day, as the Church celebrates the Mother of God and her glorious entry into heaven, that my sister-in-law will come “home” to Ohio. She and her girls are coming in a caravan of Reinhard brothers.
She’ll be surrounded once she’s here, and yet I know that she’s going to feel more alone than ever. She’s going to have family at every turn, and yet I know that there will be a glaring absence, one that, though healed by time, is always present. She will smile and cry and hide what she can. She will muddle forward, do her best, get through it and over it and around it.
There’s something beautiful about this painful day being on a feast of Mary. I have felt, over the years of watching this sister-in-law hero of mine, that she has a very special place in Mary’s heart. From her openness about her story to her unwavering faith, she continues to show me the path to Mary, the way through the sorrow and the heartache. She shakes her fist and throws things across the room, but she also drinks a beer and laughs heartily. She picks the splinters out of her feet and tosses them in the face of the one tempting her to give up.
She’s spunky, this sister-in-law of mine, and it does all of us good to have a taste of that in our lives. I’d carry her cross for her if I could, I’d hold her head in mine. I’ve watched her mother sob, unable to help her daughter more, wanting to take the pain and make it go away, and I’ve felt utterly and completely helpless.
Sometimes, when I’m paying attention, I get a glimpse of God’s grace. This year, the Feast of the Assumption feels like one such grace. It feels like Mary reaching down and letting us know that Allen’s regaling her with stories and playing ball with his boys.
Tearful, powerful and beautiful.
I know alot of non-Catholics have a problem with this because it isn’t explicitly described in the Bible. I like it because amazing things happen to Holy People. And she is the holiest of people from the modern era (AD is the modern era to me lol), so the most amazing thing happened to her! Thank you for all you do Sarah!
Michael, that’s a great way to say it…amazing things happen to Holy People.
And you know, come to think of it, pretty amazing things happen to those of us struggling to figure out the whole holy thing too! 🙂
Amazing things happen to Holy People? Like they are tortured, cut, fried, burned, suffocated, spat at, scoffed, killed in camps? Is there a kind of martyrdom I missed here? Probably so. I just don’t like this kind of talk.
And about Mary – she is a wonderful figure, that’s right, but her maternal qualities only reflect a part of God’s, as I perceive it. For me she is not a perfect mother I should place beside the heavenly Father, but a woman keeping God’s word, decent, devoted to her mission and completely obedient, thus reflecting the receptive aspect of all of us in relation to God – yes, we all are feminine, in a sense. What happened to her – and is reflected in the Dormition/Assumption – reveals what will happen with all of us, transfigured, “deified”, healed and taken to God. She is the first human to be granted the fruits of Christ’s passion and victory, the first to undergo “theosis”. We will share in her glory, because it reflects the glory prepared for all humanity in Jesus. This way she is, as our Lord said, “a brother, a sister, a mother” (Matthew 12,48-50) as anyone who keeps God’s word and is faithful. I can’t help but feel as if something was taken from God when we put so much emphasis on Mary’s motherhood for all humanity. She must be viewed as a human for her deeds and story to be fully understood and lived!
I wish you strenght and patience with your problems and hope you will get through with the help of our Lord, and, of course, Mary 🙂
It’s wonderful to me how there are so many perspectives to Mary. Thanks for sharing yours.