Hi everyone! This past Saturday we highlighted the Assumption of Mary on August 15th. I want to thank Fr. Al Stangl and everyone who participated in the Living Rosary and the Vigil Mass at St. Paul on Friday evening, and I also want to thank those of you who came to Mass at St. Peter’s this Saturday morning. Since we as Catholics have a special place for Mary and as we recently celebrated her entry into heaven, I would like to pull a couple statements out of the Universal Catechism regarding Mary and why we honor (not worship) her as virgin and mother: #773…”Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as “the bride without spot or wrinkle.” This is why Marian dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine.” #829 “But, while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so the Church turns its eyes to Mary, in her the Church is already the “all-holy.” # 972 “In Mary we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her (the Church’s) own “pilgrimage of faith,” and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, “in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity,” “in communion of the all the saints,” the Church is awaited by the one she (the Churches) venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother. In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines for on earth until the day of the Lord will come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.” I believe these passages are trying to say that since Mary proceeded even the apostles (like Peter) in her call by God to be the Virgin Mother of God’s own Son, she stands before the ministry of St. Peter (the Pope) as an inspiration, guidance and authority to follow. Mary, in this sense, is the Church in all its perfection as a follower of Christ. With regard to her Assumption we believe where Mary has gone we hope to follow in every way all the way into heaven! This being said, we know especially from recent years that the Church, that although it is holy (in some sense like Mary) it is also very human and as human very vulnerable to sin, mistakes made by her members on all levels. We have only to look at the media to be reminded of this. This is the opposite side of the coin. That’s where the tension fits in. On one hand we have the perfection of the Church as realized in heaven with Mary and on the other hand we have the reality of the Church with which we struggle with here on earth. The good news is that often times only where there is tension can there be growth. Only where there is a paradox is there the cross of death and resurrection! When things go well, we tend not to stretch; when things become difficult we are more open and reach out for better things to come. So, as we celebrate the Assumption of Mary and honor her for her special role in salvation history, let’s look up to Mary as a means of moving forward as God continues to call us all closer and closer to his Son. Let’s look to Mary to regain some sense of holiness and peace in whatever tension we may personally have! Mary, as only a Mother’s love knows how, is one who can lead us to full maturity in Christ by helping us embrace our own call to carry the cross.