The Readings for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
I have been having Senior Moments. I’m 55, these are to be expected. Actually, I’ll be 55 in two weeks so close enough anyway…
I have been having Senior Moments: by which I mean I forget things. Where’s my wallet? It’s in my pocket. Where are my glasses? They’re in my hand. Where are my keys? Where are my keys? No really, where are my keys? They’re not in my bag they’re not in the pocket where they should be. They’re not in the coat. They’re not in the shirt I wore last night. They’re not in the pocket where they shouldn’t be. They’re not in the other pocket of the coat. They’re not in the other bag that I haven’t used in a week. They’re not in my pants from last night. Wait a minute. They’re in another pocket in the pants that I’m wearing. They are in a different pocket than I’ve ever put them in before. I have a sign on my door: it reminds me to carry my wallet, my phone, my keys, my rosary, and my teeth.
But the other day, I had one that terrified me: I was going to take a shower. Then there I was standing in the kitchen wrapped in a towel. I was dry. The towel was wet. So I knew I had taken a shower but I couldn’t remember it. The floor was wet in front of the shower. I open the door the inside of the shower was wet. I could not remember having taken a shower. Still can’t. I remembered later that I opened the shower to spray the after-shower cleaning stuff and I noticed that the guy who comes in twice a month to do things around my apartment, had actually scrubbed the chrome inside my shower. I remember noting that. But I don’t remember taking a shower. It was terrifying because I’ve not lost a few minutes in time before. At least not that I remember…
And so this morning, I checked with one of my fellow coworkers of advanced age. She said, no: this is normal. Then she and I did an organ recital, let the reader understand.
St Paul says, Novissima autem inimica destruetur mors. The last enemy to be conquered is death.
Senior moments: my recent brush with cancer, my teeth falling out, your blood pressure, your eyesight, your liver disease and even – if you’re young enough not to have any of these yet, your very lack (compared to my having) is a sign of mortality.
We will both die. Remember. You too will die.
Mary’s falling asleep in the Lord, and her bodily assumption into heaven means that Senior Moments matter. When like to picture Mary as a young virgin. We think of her as beautiful, calm, loving, tender. We see light radiating from her beautiful peach colored face. If we have a more realistic icon, like the Tilma of Guadalupe, we see light radiating from her brown face. But she’s always young. By the time of her death, however, she was old and decrepit. She was frail. She was weak: she needed a doctor all the time and she needed a young man to take care of her. St. John of Damascus teaches us that she freely chose to follow the pattern established by the maker in the fall. She became old, she weekend, and she died. But for Mary, death became something new. In fact for all Christians death is something new. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin teaches us not only Senior Moments matter but matter matters to God. Mary’s falling asleep in the Lord and her bodily Assumption into heaven means not that God changes us into Spiritual Beings but that God changes our matter into what it was meant to be.
We know, at this point in time, that light is both particles and waves. Somehow those particles and waves can coalesce into rays of light are matter – yet not – and that somehow those particles and waves form the tiniest quarks of matter, form the atoms and the cells that make up our bodies. Light courses through the chromosomes that make us into men and women, through the cell division and growth that brings us to maturity. Light radiates through the life that we have, and God, the Father of Lights, has entered in and restored what was lost.
Mary, as the Ark of the New Covenant, as the jar that contained the heavenly Manna, as the temple that held the glory of God, as all of Heaven that contains the Divinity not even a bit; Mary is a sign that you and I are living beings of matter becoming light.
Not some ghostly, fake “spiritual” light but physical light, living and breathing in the presence of God.
The scripture says that at the Transfiguration Jesus’ entire being became light. But it was still Jesus.
So also with you and I: the last enemy to be conquered is death. And when, in God’s time, death comes for you or I, by Mary’s prayers, we will spit in his eye. And he will laugh with us.
The Divine fire will catch us and raise us in glory in ways that we cannot imagine. Let there be light. “Not this body with all of its inconveniences,” said Father Albert, tonight at Mass (the seed for this meditation). Not this body with all its inconvenience and pain. But this body freed of inconvenience!
Mary’s Assumption means where Jesus has gone we can go too. Mary’s Assumption shows us that life is not ended for God’s faithful people: it is only changed. No more senior moments. Only pure joy that we will never have to remember: because it will never end.