Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

8/15/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An early Church father, Gregory of Nyssa, said it well: What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul

This event is a part of the naturally supernatural  progression in the life of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth. Her Yes, her Fiat of surrendered love, brought heaven to earth. This exercise of her human freedom, responding to the invitation of God, as sent through an angel, to be the Mother of the Lord, forever changed human history. It opened her up to the glory of heaven. That glory not only came to dwell within her, but later received her, body and soul, into heaven. Mary is thus the sign and promise of the Church\'s future. She also provides the pattern of the Christian life and vocation. All who say Yes to her beloved Son - and live their lives in that kind of surrendered love - can bear Jesus Christ for the world. They are joined with Mary now and will join with her in the fullness of that communion of love which she now enjoys in eternity.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/15/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Assumption, Assumption of Mary, Christian living, Dormition, Discipleship, Mother of God, Marian, Rosary, Holy Rosary, Mother of the Lord, Holiness, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On August 15 in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church we celebrate the great Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Most of our Eastern Christian brethren also acknowledge the same great event on this Feast, calling it the Dormition of the Mother of God. Some join us in the celebration today and others, following another ancient Christian calendar, commemorate in just a few days. The Feast is ancient and of profound importance - for reasons which sometimes are not fully understood.

This event is a part of the naturally supernatural  progression in the life of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth. Her Yes, her Fiat of surrendered love, brought heaven to earth. This exercise of her human freedom, responding to the invitation of God, as sent through an angel, to be the Mother of the Lord, forever changed human history. It opened her up to the glory of heaven. That glory not only came to dwell within her, but later received her, body and soul, into heaven.

Mary is thus the sign and promise of the Church's future. She also provides the pattern of the Christian life and vocation. All who say Yes to her beloved Son - and live their lives in that kind of surrendered love - can bear Jesus Christ for the world. They are joined with Mary now and will join with her in the fullness of that communion of love which she now enjoys in eternity.

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." In those few words, all of human history was changed. As we make those words our own, our own histories begin to change as well. The Angel proclaimed that Mary was full of grace, filled with the very life and presence of God. She walked in a deep, abiding and intimate relationship with God. He was with her before she even responded to His invitation. God chose Mary, even before Mary chose God. This order is vitally important.

Mary's Prayer, her Fiat (Latin, let it be done) was a response to the visitation from the messenger of heaven, the angel. It also provides a pattern of prayer for every Christian. It unfolds into a life of praise, her 'Magnificat.' This canticle begins with the words in Latin 'Magnificat anima mea Dominum' ('My soul magnifies the Lord') and is the Gospel text for the Liturgy during the day on this Feast. (Luke 1:46-55).

The Fiat is more than a prayer and the Magnificat more than a hymn of praise. Together they constitute a lesson book, a guide, for our own lives. This lesson book is desperately needed by contemporary Christians, indeed all people of faith and good will, in an age characterized by pride and arrogance, deluded by self worship and imprisoned by the idolatry it produces.

The pattern of the life of Mary, the first disciple of the Lord, reveals a trajectory of surrendered love. If we embrace the mystery of Mary, we will find the meaning of our own lives. We were created out of Love, in Love and for Love. As the beloved disciple John, who stood with her at the Tree of the Cross, reminds us in his first letter, "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 Jn 4:16)

Mary said Yes to the invitation to participate in the communion of God's love. She confronted her own fears and entered into a new way of living; so must we. Christians use the word mystery in a manner quite different than the contemporary west perceives the word. Christian 'mysteries' are not puzzles to be solved, but gifts to be received, in faith.

The Greek word mysterion (later translated sacramentum in Latin) is still the preferred word used for the Sacraments in the Eastern Church. They are mysteries of our faith. It is in that light that Mary is also viewed as a mystery; she reveals the very heart of that faith and its inner dynamic. She also teaches us the meaning of our own lives. Like her, we are invited into communion with the Trinitarian God, in and through Jesus Christ.She shows us the way.

Mary lived a life of receiving and giving and giving and receiving. She has been called from the early centuries the God-bearer or Mother of God (which in Greek is Theo-tokos). She brought forth the Word of God. Her Fiat, her humble surrender, led to her Magnificat. Thus she becomes a prototype, showing us the vocation of every human person.

Her response reveals the meaning of life itself. We were made to give ourselves away to the Lord who has given Himself to us in a Holy exchange. He comes and abides within us. Through Baptism we enter into a new way of living in His Body, the Church. Living in that Church we are called to continue His redemptive mission by giving ourselves in Him for the sake of the world. An early father of the undivided Christian Church, Gregory of Nyssa, once wrote:

"What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for 'we no longer know Christ according to the flesh', but He dwells in us spiritually and the father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us."

When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, she bore within her the Incarnate Word of God as a living tabernacle of love. (Luke 1:38-45) Jesus, the Redeemer in the womb, was already saving the world and Mary, his chosen mother, was already His first disciple. This little Virgin from Nazareth not only experienced the great miracle but became herself a vehicle of grace for others.

Is it any wonder that the early Christians painted her image in the catacombs during their moments of fear, persecution and doubt? They found great inspiration from this little woman of great faith. In her yes they came to understand that ordinary people can change human history. They were inspired to add their own yes, their own fiat to hers.

Justin Martyr and many other early Christian apologists found in her fiat, her obedient Yes to the invitation angel, the undoing of the no - I will not serve - given by the first woman Eve. In one of her very first titles, they called Mary The Second Eve, the mother of the new creation.

In her womb she carried the One whom the biblical authors would call the New Adam. He was born from her as the first born of a new race of men and women who would find a new birth and a new of living and dying, and living again, through His Incarnation, Nativity, Life, Death and Resurrection.

That same Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, now resides within - and lives His Risen Life through - all those who respond to the invitation of Love, as Mary did. Mary's choice, her response to the invitation of a God who always respects human freedom, is a singularly extraordinary event in all of human history because it changed history forever. However, it is more.

It is an invitation to each one of us to explore our own personal histories and to write them anew in Jesus Christ. Mary is a mirror, a reflection, of Some-One, Jesus Christ, her Beloved Son,the Eternal Word from the Father who became the Incarnate Word within her. The Savior whom she was privileged to bear for the sake of the world filled her with His grace.

Each one of us, now baptized into Him, is also called to become full of grace. We are invited to empty ourselves and be filled with the very life of God. The Lord desires to come and take up residence within us and be borne into a world that hungers for His love. Mary shows us the way. She heard the promise, believed, was filled with grace, and conceived the Lord who is Love incarnate.

We can do likewise if we learn to pray, to listen, to hear, and to respond with our own Yes, living our lives in surrendered love. I wrote a small book of reflections to help other Christians, not in full communion wiith the Catholic Church, to discover this  meaning and gift of Mary for us all. It is entitled The Prayer of Mary, Living the Surrendered Life.

-----

Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Living Faith

WATCH as an abortionist REVELS in his work and says he LOVES what he does Watch

Image of This abortionist is proud of his evil work.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A pro-life activist has confronted an abortionist only to receive sarcasm in reply. The incident underscores the callous and flippant attitude the people in the abortion industry have. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - According to Life Site News, an abortionist ... continue reading


'Thou shalt not kill': Pope Francis talks the death penalty Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks out against capitol punishment (thenewstribe).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

In a video message sent Wednesday to a gathering of advocates for abolition of the death penalty, Pope Francis welcomed their efforts as a way to promote the right to life of all persons. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "Nowadays the death penalty is ... continue reading


'I'm so glad that Elizabeth has been recognized': Who was Elizabeth of the Trinity? Watch

Image of Elizabeth of the Trinity.

By Carl Bunderson (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis has announced the canonization date of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun of the 20th century who will be formally recognized as a saint October 16. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - In March, the Pope had acknowledged a miracle worked ... continue reading


'I will change your life': Christ is the only way to true conversion Watch

Image of Pope Francis claims authentic conversion can only come from Christ (Ourladyofthesun).

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

Recognizing the needs of others is a sign of genuine conversion, which only happens when the heart is ready to be changed by Jesus, Pope Francis said Saturday. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "True conversion happens when we welcome the gift of grace," the Pope ... continue reading


Something 'can happen if people reach out to them': LA deacon serves those who need love Watch

Image of LA deacon serves the forgotten (egpnews).

By Tonia Borsellino (CNA/EWTN News)

For the estimated 5,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, parish participation can be difficult. LOS ANGELES, CA (CNA/EWTN News) - From homilies to retreats, normal Church events can be inaccessible to those with auditory ... continue reading


Last words of Christian girl burned alive by ISIS will break your heart Watch

Image of ISIS continues to persecute the few remaining Christians under their dominion.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

ISIS terrorists have burnt a 12-year old Christian girl to death after her family failed to pay the Jizya tax on time. The girl's last words to her mother will break your heart. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Two ISIS terrorists approached a Christian house in ... continue reading


Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity to be recognized as a saint by Pope Francis on Oct. 16 Watch

Image of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity will be recognized as a saint on Oct. 16, 2016.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis will recognize five people as saints at a Vatican ceremony on October 16. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Pope Francis will recognize the following five people as saints of the Church.Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Discalced Carmelite ... continue reading


Catholic Online is BACK on Facebook!

Image of Visit our Facebook page to stay connected!

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After nine months of being offline, due to a vicious and cruel hack, Catholic Online's Facebook page is back online. Last September, Catholic Online's Facebook account was hatefully hacked. The hackers exploited a vulnerability in a third party application to access ... continue reading


'This is completely historic': Lipa Marian apparitions' unveiled history Watch

Image of Marian apparitions of Lipa City (Wikimedia).

By Mary Rezac (CNA)

The story of Sister Teresita Castillo and the supposed Marian apparitions of Lipa City, Philippines reads something like a mystery novel. Lipa, Philippines (CNA) - A negative judgement from the Vatican on the apparition most likely drove the visionary nun out of the ... continue reading


Pope Francis: 'The world needs Christ more than ever' Watch

Image of Pope Francis says the world needs Christ now more than ever (Wikipedia).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

On Sunday Pope Francis said that with a growing sense of emptiness and insecurity gripping the world, Jesus Christ is needed more than ever before, since he alone knows how to answer humanity's deepest questions. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "The world needs ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 49:1-6
1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, distant peoples. ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 139:1-3, 13-14, 14-15
1 [For the choirmaster Of David Psalm] Yahweh, you examine me and know ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:57-66, 80
57 The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a ... Read More

Reading 2, Acts 13:22-26
22 he deposed him and raised up David to be king, whom he attested in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 24th, 2016 Image

St. John the Baptist
June 24: John the Baptist was a contemporary of Christ who ... Read More