Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

8/15/2014 (1 month ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An early Church father, Gregory of Nyssa, said it well: What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul

This event is a part of the naturally supernatural  progression in the life of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth. Her Yes, her Fiat of surrendered love, brought heaven to earth. This exercise of her human freedom, responding to the invitation of God, as sent through an angel, to be the Mother of the Lord, forever changed human history. It opened her up to the glory of heaven. That glory not only came to dwell within her, but later received her, body and soul, into heaven. Mary is thus the sign and promise of the Church\'s future. She also provides the pattern of the Christian life and vocation. All who say Yes to her beloved Son - and live their lives in that kind of surrendered love - can bear Jesus Christ for the world. They are joined with Mary now and will join with her in the fullness of that communion of love which she now enjoys in eternity.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/15/2014 (1 month ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Assumption, Assumption of Mary, Christian living, Dormition, Discipleship, Mother of God, Marian, Rosary, Holy Rosary, Mother of the Lord, Holiness, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On August 15 in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church we celebrate the great Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Most of our Eastern Christian brethren also acknowledge the same great event on this Feast, calling it the Dormition of the Mother of God. Some join us in the celebration today and others, following another ancient Christian calendar, commemorate in just a few days. The Feast is ancient and of profound importance - for reasons which sometimes are not fully understood.

This event is a part of the naturally supernatural  progression in the life of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth. Her Yes, her Fiat of surrendered love, brought heaven to earth. This exercise of her human freedom, responding to the invitation of God, as sent through an angel, to be the Mother of the Lord, forever changed human history. It opened her up to the glory of heaven. That glory not only came to dwell within her, but later received her, body and soul, into heaven.

Mary is thus the sign and promise of the Church's future. She also provides the pattern of the Christian life and vocation. All who say Yes to her beloved Son - and live their lives in that kind of surrendered love - can bear Jesus Christ for the world. They are joined with Mary now and will join with her in the fullness of that communion of love which she now enjoys in eternity.

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." In those few words, all of human history was changed. As we make those words our own, our own histories begin to change as well. The Angel proclaimed that Mary was full of grace, filled with the very life and presence of God. She walked in a deep, abiding and intimate relationship with God. He was with her before she even responded to His invitation. God chose Mary, even before Mary chose God. This order is vitally important.

Mary's Prayer, her Fiat (Latin, let it be done) was a response to the visitation from the messenger of heaven, the angel. It also provides a pattern of prayer for every Christian. It unfolds into a life of praise, her 'Magnificat.' This canticle begins with the words in Latin 'Magnificat anima mea Dominum' ('My soul magnifies the Lord') and is the Gospel text for the Liturgy during the day on this Feast. (Luke 1:46-55).

The Fiat is more than a prayer and the Magnificat more than a hymn of praise. Together they constitute a lesson book, a guide, for our own lives. This lesson book is desperately needed by contemporary Christians, indeed all people of faith and good will, in an age characterized by pride and arrogance, deluded by self worship and imprisoned by the idolatry it produces.

The pattern of the life of Mary, the first disciple of the Lord, reveals a trajectory of surrendered love. If we embrace the mystery of Mary, we will find the meaning of our own lives. We were created out of Love, in Love and for Love. As the beloved disciple John, who stood with her at the Tree of the Cross, reminds us in his first letter, "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 Jn 4:16)

Mary said Yes to the invitation to participate in the communion of God's love. She confronted her own fears and entered into a new way of living; so must we. Christians use the word mystery in a manner quite different than the contemporary west perceives the word. Christian 'mysteries' are not puzzles to be solved, but gifts to be received, in faith.

The Greek word mysterion (later translated sacramentum in Latin) is still the preferred word used for the Sacraments in the Eastern Church. They are mysteries of our faith. It is in that light that Mary is also viewed as a mystery; she reveals the very heart of that faith and its inner dynamic. She also teaches us the meaning of our own lives. Like her, we are invited into communion with the Trinitarian God, in and through Jesus Christ.She shows us the way.

Mary lived a life of receiving and giving and giving and receiving. She has been called from the early centuries the God-bearer or Mother of God (which in Greek is Theo-tokos). She brought forth the Word of God. Her Fiat, her humble surrender, led to her Magnificat. Thus she becomes a prototype, showing us the vocation of every human person.

Her response reveals the meaning of life itself. We were made to give ourselves away to the Lord who has given Himself to us in a Holy exchange. He comes and abides within us. Through Baptism we enter into a new way of living in His Body, the Church. Living in that Church we are called to continue His redemptive mission by giving ourselves in Him for the sake of the world. An early father of the undivided Christian Church, Gregory of Nyssa, once wrote:

"What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for 'we no longer know Christ according to the flesh', but He dwells in us spiritually and the father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us."

When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, she bore within her the Incarnate Word of God as a living tabernacle of love. (Luke 1:38-45) Jesus, the Redeemer in the womb, was already saving the world and Mary, his chosen mother, was already His first disciple. This little Virgin from Nazareth not only experienced the great miracle but became herself a vehicle of grace for others.

Is it any wonder that the early Christians painted her image in the catacombs during their moments of fear, persecution and doubt? They found great inspiration from this little woman of great faith. In her yes they came to understand that ordinary people can change human history. They were inspired to add their own yes, their own fiat to hers.

Justin Martyr and many other early Christian apologists found in her fiat, her obedient Yes to the invitation angel, the undoing of the no - I will not serve - given by the first woman Eve. In one of her very first titles, they called Mary The Second Eve, the mother of the new creation.

In her womb she carried the One whom the biblical authors would call the New Adam. He was born from her as the first born of a new race of men and women who would find a new birth and a new of living and dying, and living again, through His Incarnation, Nativity, Life, Death and Resurrection.

That same Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, now resides within - and lives His Risen Life through - all those who respond to the invitation of Love, as Mary did. Mary's choice, her response to the invitation of a God who always respects human freedom, is a singularly extraordinary event in all of human history because it changed history forever. However, it is more.

It is an invitation to each one of us to explore our own personal histories and to write them anew in Jesus Christ. Mary is a mirror, a reflection, of Some-One, Jesus Christ, her Beloved Son,the Eternal Word from the Father who became the Incarnate Word within her. The Savior whom she was privileged to bear for the sake of the world filled her with His grace.

Each one of us, now baptized into Him, is also called to become full of grace. We are invited to empty ourselves and be filled with the very life of God. The Lord desires to come and take up residence within us and be borne into a world that hungers for His love. Mary shows us the way. She heard the promise, believed, was filled with grace, and conceived the Lord who is Love incarnate.

We can do likewise if we learn to pray, to listen, to hear, and to respond with our own Yes, living our lives in surrendered love. I wrote a small book of reflections to help other Christians, not in full communion wiith the Catholic Church, to discover this  meaning and gift of Mary for us all. It is entitled The Prayer of Mary, Living the Surrendered Life.

-----

Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus: Love to The End Watch

Image of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: The Little Flower

By F. K. Bartels

Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I ... continue reading


Tough Lessons for Real Life from the Book of Job Watch

Image of Job was right. He was living in the heart of God's will. When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake. Jobs fair-weather friends told him that his loss and difficulties were his fault, but Job knew better. In his unwavering hope in God's love and mercy we find the example of purified, living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake, for Love's ... continue reading


Interesting facts about the 400 years old Bom Jesus Church in India, the final resting place of St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is more than 400 years old.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Located in Old Goa, India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation stone was laid on 24th November 1594, and completed on 15th May 1605. It was raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946 and is considered to be one of the ... continue reading


Bombing Islamic State is fueling the violence

Image of Civilians inspect the rubble of a building destroyed by Allied airstrikes in Syria. We cannot bomb our way into the hearts of people.

By Tony Magliano

We need to do something! With the barbaric Islamic State now controlling large portions of Iraq and Syria, and inflicting rape, torture and even beheading on those who do not conform to their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, it is imperative that they must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis to try case of pedophile archbishop in Vatican court Watch

Image of Former archbishop and ambassador Josef Wesolowski is under  arrest at the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will try one of its own for child abuse. After decades, possibly centuries of abuse and cover up, the use of the Church has a cover for pedophiles has finally ended. Former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will now face trial for abusing boys he met ... continue reading


Pope Francis says to listen to God's word and put it into practice Watch

Image of During his homily at daily, the Pope urged Christians to read God's word faithfully and to truly listen with our hearts to what He has to say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Pope Francis, living the Christian life is simple: listen to God's word and put it into practice. "These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus, hear the word of God and put it into practice. This is the Christian life, nothing more," the ... continue reading


Pope Francis appoints five women to major theological council Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has been critical on the Catholic Church's failures to adequately include women in theological discourse, has appointed five to a major theological council that is charged with aiding the pope and others with theological policy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Theological Commission, established in 1969 to study doctrinal issues faced by the Catholic Church and to help the pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has just received five new female members, raising the number of female ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks new bishops to avoid self-promotion, to love their congregations instead Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with bishops for an audience. The Holy Father had important advice for a group of new bishops yesterday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has admonished a new generation of bishops against seeking promotion and instead asked them to look after and love their congregations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During an address at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis spoke to 138 ... continue reading


POPE IN ALBANIA: Pope Francis denounces religious militants during one-day trip Watch

Image of On his first trip as pope to a European country outside of Italy, Pope Francis made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his one-day trip to the chiefly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis soundly denounced religious militants, declaring that no one act as the "armor of God." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Let no one consider themselves the 'armor' of God while planning ... continue reading


If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter