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Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Vigil" MASS

"While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk. 11:27-28).

The theology and language surrounding the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are a component of my spiritual context from as early as the age of five. My first educational institution was named in honor of Mary and her glorious Assumption. As early as my first catechetical lessons in kindergarten, Mary, the mother of baby Jesus was already being presented as a miraculous and marvelous example of only what God could do. Even at that very tender and young age, I understood that Mary really was something out of the ordinary.

It has been many decades since my first encounter with the language of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I still marvel at those grace filled moments of my childhood. My mind and spirit were so open to learn, listen, and embrace the mysteries embedded in the life of a young teen girl- Mary. The young woman who listened to a message from an angel. Sixty plus years later and multiple theological degrees and courses of study- I still have not mastered the understanding and awareness of who Mother Mary was to me even at that very early stage of my life. Those early lessons and ability to hear and see the mystical presence of Mary as a guide and protectress never left me. Although I may have struggled in my early twenties with how Mary was projected from a very Eurocentric and linear dynamic- the essence of Mary the young Palestinian Hebrew girl who ran in haste to a place of safety and affirmation- was always with me. The gift of the Black Madonna in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe- allowed me to see myself as a Black woman wrapped in the holiness of Mother Mary's Mantle.

The major context is that her commitment to saying yes to the Holy Spirit- earned her God’s favor! Her steadfastness in proclaiming justice as eloquently stated in the Magnificat is the fruit of her blessedness in the eyes of the Creator. Mary heard the call- the Word of God and she harkened to it. She opened herself up to be God-bearer Theotakis- “God's ark of holiness.” Revelations 11:19a, 12:1-10 and Psalms 132, and 45 from the liturgy of the Solemnity for August 15- speak of her greatness and her being at the position of honor in the presence of God.

The Image of our Lady of Guadalupe the pregnant dark-skinned Madonna of the indigenous Aztec culture- has graced me with so many mystical encounters of how the ark of holiness leads us to the authentic witness of her son, Jesus the Christ. It is during these very powerful moments of spiritual guidance and direction that I ask just like Elizabeth, "how is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Yet it is for this purpose that Mary was predestined- so to speak as stated in Romans 8:29-30 NAB. “Those whom God had already chosen, he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared glory with them.” Yes, her glorious Assumption is for the glory of the Lord.

How great is our God that – the manifestation of the Glory of the Lord, raises up she who is Most Holy among humanity Mary the Black Madonna, to not suffer the corruption of the grave but is lifted up to a place of honor. High and lifted up living in the light of His Glory.

Contributing Writer Dr. Valerie D. Lewis-Mosley, RN, MAPM, MSJ Adjunct Professor of Theology Caldwell University Xavier University of Louisiana Institute for Black Catholic Studies

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