MARY, “SIGN OF SURE HOPE” (LUMEN GENTIUM, 68)

“He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places.” –Luke 1:52

August 6 and 9 are the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. August 9 is the feast of St. Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), who was martyred in a concentration camp. Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was starved almost to death in a concentration camp and eventually martyred by lethal injection. Our recollections during the last few days have been sobering. They could even be depressing when we admit that the spirit of violence, injustice, and human degradation continues to be present in the world today.

When Pope Pius XII considered the atrocities of the first half of the twentieth century, he knew that “despite the increase of sin, grace has far surpassed it” (Rm 5:20). He knew that there was hope because Jesus is Lord and has saved us from our sins and conquered death. Pope Pius XII knew that death had been swallowed up in the victory of Christ (1 Cor 15:54).

The Pope, in consultation with the bishops of the world, decided to express the hope we have in the risen Christ by officially proclaiming that Mary was taken body and soul into heaven. On Nov. 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII authoritatively recognized Mary’s Assumption, which had been preached and taught for many centuries. Because Mary already shares in Christ’s victory over death, she is a sign of hope for us who struggle to have hope in this culture of death. Today is a special day of hope. Let us “wait in joyful hope.”

PRAYER: Father, make me ready to give the reason for my hope (1 Pt 3:15).
PROMISE: “Death came through a man; hence the resurrection of the dead comes through a man also. Just as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will come to life again.” —1 Cor 15:21-22
PRAISE: Praise Jesus, risen Son of God and Son of Mary.

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