SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, YEAR B.
15th August 2021
Apocalypse 11:19,12:1-6,10; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26; Luke 1:39-56.
Oliver Goldsmith’s 1773 drama titled, She Stoops to Conquer comes to my mind each time the feast of Our Lady is celebrated. This title describes the life and devotion of Our Lady. According to this 18th century drama, Kate Hardcastle is the centre and mainspring of the plot of the drama. Her insight into the psychological complication of Marlow’s character helped her to conquer his bashful and unconventional lifestyle. Marlow has an uneasiness with upper-class women, but comfortable with women belonging from lower economic class. Thus by disguising as a barmaid, Kate Hardcastle wins his heart. Kate is the most important character of the drama because there is no streak of violence in her character, though she is extremely intelligent, lively, sensible, inventive, resourceful and is both capable and intent upon shaping the course of her own life. Her ability to put aside these qualities in order to win the admiration of Marlow is of interest. She stooped to conquer!
Our Lady stooped to conquer! She displayed the highest form of humility before God. At the Annunciation, she gave in to the message of the angel Gabriel without argument or hesitation. In her relationship with God, she put aside everything in order to respond wholly to God. She was assured by the angel that her virginity will not stand in the way of God’s plans. She expressed her faith in the words; ‘let it be done to me according to your words’. She sees herself as a poor handmaid of the Lord. Thus she became for all, the model of a true Christian. She stands at the centre of our Christian life with her examples of virtues. Like Kate Hardcastle, she was able to assemble all Christians towards her son Jesus Christ. Every devotion to our Lady points to Jesus Christ. As the Theotokos (The God Bearer), she teaches us how to be open and cooperative with God’s will.
Her assumption into heaven is a sign to us that God always rewards and fulfils his promises. As the Immaculate Conception, she was preserved from original sin at birth. Her cooperation in God’s plan of salvation has earned her a unique place in heaven. She is the Mother of the Church, the Mother of Perpetual Help, the Mother of Mercy. She is the Refuge of Sinners and recently Pope Francis attributes to her the Mother of Hope and the Solace of Migrants, to further express the centrality of her motherly role in the universal church. May this feast of the Assumption of Our Lady bring us ever closer to Jesus Christ our saviour.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.