It wasn’t unusual in the liturgy in the past to have an octave following a major feast, 8 days to continue celebrating and reflecting on a mystery of faith. After all, we’re slow learners.
We celebrated the Feast of the Assumption yesterday, and as a slow learner I’m still thinking about it.
I recall that Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, an unbeliever, saw tremendous implications in the promulgation of the Dogma of the Assumption by Pius XII on November 1, 1959.
Those were dark days for humanity. World War I ended in 1918 after four years of bloody conflict when millions perished. Millions more were killed during World War II ending in 1945.We witnessed the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Before the Feast of the Assumption we recalled two saints who died in Auschwitz during that time: St. Teresa Benedicta, Eiith Stein, the Jewish convert to Catholicism and St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish priest who gave his life for a companion in the camp.
The times are still dark. Conventual war and nuclear weapons still threaten the human race and the planet. Other threats are joining them now. Climate change, for example, is now part of our dark picture. And if that were not enough, we have the scandal of sexual abuse in our own church shaking an institution that should bring hope and wisdom and stability to our world.
The Assumption of Mary is a mystery of God to hold onto. It’s a sign that God sees human life and creation itself sacred. When Jesus was raised from the dead, he brought a promise of life to humanity and all creation.
Mary is among the first fruits of his resurrection. She too was raised up, body and soul. Her Assumption has tremendous implications for our salvation and the salvation of our world. She’s a sign that God reaches into the darkness of death, in all its forms, and brings life.
The Feast of Mary’s Assumption is the oldest and most important feast of Mary in our church calendar. We planted a Mary Garden in our garden and we thanked God for the blessings of creation on the feast. We remembered Mary.