Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fr. Perrone on the Assumption of Mary

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, August 16, 2015):

“You, Lord, will not allow your faithful ones to undergo corruption.” 

This line from the psalter applies in a particular way to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose body, soon after Her death, did not begin the process of decay as it must for the rest of us mortals. She indeed had had Her share in the sufferings of Christ through what we call compassion, a sensitive participation in the agony of soul and even, one would think, the physical pains of Her Son’s Passion. Though not Herself the Redeemer, She is a sharer in the work of redemption, a “co-redemptrix” (the Latin suffix indicating the feminine gender). It was only right then that Her unsullied soul should not long be separated from Her body after death but be shortly (if not immediately) reunited with Her body in a state of glory, the prelude to Her glorious arising into the heavens, trailing after Her Son’s Ascension. 

The reason why the Assumption is little known and appreciated is that the Virgin Mary is an unfathomable mystery which only the infinite God fully comprehends. If we could grasp the significance of a soul–anyone’s–in a state of grace, we would be in a state of perpetual wonder. How then would it be to understand the one human person who was ever “full of grace,” even from the moment of Her conception? How ineffably marvelous would She then appear? One of Her many titles in the litany is “Mirror of Justice,” a curious metaphor which indicates in a covert way that Holy Mary was so pure a light, that is, so suffused with grace, that She, like a mirror, seemed as if to be the light reflected. The truth is that only God is Light. Mary then is the reflected light, so clearly shining as light would reflect into a mirror. The words ‘of justice’ there signify utter goodness, righteousness, before God. Only the Holy Virgin stands thus before God, so radiant Herself that, if we were to see Her in all Her heavenly splendor, we would be led to think She Herself were God. As I indicated, the reason why the mystery of Mary is little appreciated is because of the disability of our minds to be able to understand what it means for anybody to be in a state of grace. Grace is something entirely supernatural, dazzlingly brilliant as it is, but entirely evading our senses. So impoverished are we in regard to spiritual things generally in our overly sensate condition that we tend to downplay, if not disregard entirely, supernatural things. Too bad for us, this blindness to divine truth. We should not on that account belittle things we do not, cannot understand. We should rather rely on the teachings of holy Church to which the revelation of Mary’s greatness has been conveyed and thank God that there was at least one human person who lived in an extraordinary way so as to have been found wholly pleasing and acceptable to Him, without any deviation or compromise. Her incomparable greatness is the reason why Saint Bernard said, “Of the Virgin Mary there can never be enough.”

This is our parish’s great feast day. I have been the fortunate pastor of this parish for twenty years now, yearly recalling some new aspect of the fascinating mystery of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Were I to go on as pastor for another score of years–Heaven forbid!, you may say–I could never begin to discover all the richness of this single mystery of the Catholic faith. (If full comprehension of any aspect of natural science is impossible–e.g. the complete knowledge of the working of a single cell in a human body–how much more so is the impossibility to comprehend supernatural things.)

I am hoping, as I write this in advance, that our day will be another blest day. Our Lady’s Heart appeals to Her Son to grant graces untold upon all those who implore Her help. We are indeed much in need of Her intercession. As our world goes ever farther from the ways of truth and morality, we need the Mother of Christ to speak to Jesus as She did at Cana when She said, “they have no wine.” Applied to our time this becomes, ‘they have little truth, few guides, little faith, hope, and love.’ Our Lord knows the sound of Her voice and stands ever at the ready to Her prayers.
May all benefit from the maternal goodness of Mary this Assumption Day 2015, and especially those who make their way to visit our parish and our Grotto to honor Her and spend their prayers. I am grateful to be the unworthy pastor of such a blest place, and am grateful to all of you as well, parishioners and visitors, for carrying on in the long line of tradition which recognizes and celebrates a mystery we can never completely appreciate: Mary’s triumphal Assumption into heaven.

Fr. Perrone