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The Assumption of Mary: The Mystery

August 15, the Assumption of Mary—I’ve always wondered about this holy day.

As a child, I imagined Mary floating into the clouds similar to Mary Poppins but without the umbrella. As a young adult, I didn’t give it much thought and only felt a twinge of guilt when I didn’t make it to mass.

Now as a 57-year-old woman with an active spiritual imagination, I am captivated by the word, “assumption.” So, I looked it up in the Webster Dictionary and found lots of meanings but no clarity. In fact, I felt a little more confused. And that’s when it dawned on me that the true meaning of this holy day is Mystery, with a capital “M.”

It’s a mystery—this feast day—that no one can prove nor deny. It’s a mystery that begs us to spend time pondering. And as with so many religious stories, I wish we had more details. I wish someone had documented the story. I wish we knew what the disciples did or how they felt when they went to Mary’s tomb and found it empty.  I wish, I wish, I wish.

I find it interesting that today’s Gospel is the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth right after her encounter with Mystery. Maybe that’s the lesson here.

Maybe we’re being invited to be like Mary today by reaching out to a friend we’ve not seen in a while. Or perhaps we can celebrate Mary’s mysterious return to God by sharing stories of God’s action in our lives just like Mary and Elizabeth did. And then again, maybe we’re just being invited to stare at the sky today and let the Mystery encounter us.

This Post Has 14 Comments
  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection with us, Laura. Indeed I am grateful to be able to stare at a lovely blue sky today and allow the Mystery to envelope me!

  2. Dear Laura,

    Thank you for your insightful reflection on this feast of Mary. I appreciate the suggestions you offered as a way of celebrating the Mystery of Mary’s new life…a foretaste of what is yet to come for each and all of us.


  3. Thanks, Laura! You brought me in touch with the mystery of my own new life!
    A heart-provoking piece of writing.

  4. Laura, thanks for your insights into this Mystery. I’ve always wondered, too, how the title Assumption fit with Mary’s going to join her Son in eternal life. And I always imagined the great welcome she must have received.

  5. Dear Laura,
    Thank you for your reflection. Mystery is such a wonderment.
    I especially appreciate the examples.


  6. I am so touched by the comments posted here.

    Thank you for receiving me and sharing a piece of yourself in return. Greg Boyle SJ talks a lot about mutuality and that’s exactly what this feels like!

    Thank you Kathy, Nancy, Suzie, Irene, Linda and Peggy. Your notes are moving me even deeper into the Mystery. Yay, God!

  7. Thanks, Laura, for your very real and moving words. I have always had a difficulty with this feast and it seemed once again to separate Mary from the ordinary person and woman. When came across this excerpt I was able to relate more to the Mary of the Assumption. Thanks, Marilyn

    from GSR August 15, 2016 – Mercy Sr. Mary Aquin O’Neill holds a doctorate in religion from Vanderbilt University

    “Theological reflections on the Assumption intensified after the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. A central argument in defense of the Assumption rested on the belief that Mary was free from all sin. One aspect of the definition that did not receive enough attention at the time is the impact of this dogma on an understanding of the goodness of the female body. If Mary is a real woman and if she experienced in her earthly life the cycles of a woman’s life, her Assumption means that there is no incompatibility between that womanly body and the divine life.
    After centuries in which the female body was considered impure and a source of defilement — kept out of holy places and considered with revulsion — this declaration opened the way for a new and positive assessment of female bodily existence.”

  8. Thank you, Laura for your thoughts and reflection on this special feast.
    Mystery is a most appropriate concept embracing this event in Mary’s life. Her life, her choices embody mystery for me. Blessings

  9. Laura,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. You have help me learn so much about the Mysteries of our faith and I am richer because of it. I am also richer because of the mysteries of our friendship. I love how our friendship continues to grow, change and inspire. Please keep doing this important work for all of us.

    From my Holy Trinity with love,

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