The Rev'd Carlos de la Torre
Christ Church, New Haven, Conn.
Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary -- The Assumption
August 15, 2018
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In his book entitled Mary for All Christians, Fr John Macquarrie opens up his chapter on the Glorious Assumption with these words:
“In the expression `Glorious Assumption' the adjective and the noun go together... An assumption could not be anything other than glorious, for it means a taking up from the drabness and ordinariness of earthly life into what we call “heaven,” the unimaginable glory of the divine presence in its immediacy” (78).
An assumption could not be anything other than glorious.
In scripture, the Glorious Incarnation, the Glorious Resurrection, and the Glorious Ascension of Jesus take place as acts and signs of God’s glory. These events take place to reveal, once again, God’s love and power over all creation.
We know from the Old Testament that resurrection and assumption are part of God’s landscape of radical possibilities. Through Elijah, the Lord resurrects the son of the widow of Zarephath. In Genesis, we’re told that “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. And Elijah is taken up in a chariot of fire, in a whirlwind into heaven.
In all these acts, as in the Glorious Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus, God over and over again reveals to us his power and might. But he also reveals his deep love for us, for we are made in God’s image, body and soul.
God resurrects and takes up to himself not only the body of Jesus, but the bodies of the faithful. For God, our bodies and our humanity have value. The God who created us in our mother’s womb desires not only that we have life and have it abundantly, but that we one day return and come into union with God. That our bodies like the body of Elijah, the body of Jesus, and the body of the Blessed Mother enter into union with God.
And today the Church Catholic remembers God’s desire to be in union with us and all creation, as we remember God’s union with the Blessed Mother. As we have prayed in the collect today, we give thanks to God who has taken up to himself the Blessed Virgin Mary. We give thanks for God’s desire to take up to himself not only his son, our Lord Jesus Christ, but his Blessed Mother and one day us.
Today the Church rejoices and sings Marian hymns because in the Blessed Mother we are reassured of our destiny. We celebrate that in the fullness of time, we and all creation will return to God as we celebrate and remember Mary this day. While our Prayer Book marks today as The Feast of Saint Mary Virgin, its designated collect hints at, if not affirms, her Glorious Assumption
And our Lady’s Glorious Assumption affirms, in the words of Fr John Macquarrie, that “the heaven which Jesus ascended to, and into which Mary [and we will be assumed to] is not a region in the skies, but a new level of existence” .
Our humanity is transformed already by the Incarnation and Resurrection, and then again by the Ascension of Jesus. In these marvelous acts, we are brought closer to God, closer to God’s purpose for us. “The Assumption is a transformation of the human condition from its familiar earthly state to a new mode of being in which the body enjoys an immediate relationship to God” .
While our relationship with God in the life to come promises to be more intimate than we can ever experience here on earth, our Lord’s Ascension and his Mother’s Assumption lets us know that our selves, our souls and bodies, have a place in heaven. That our most beautiful features, our wounds and imperfections are received by God just as they are. And if they need to be transformed, they are not transformed by force but by the love of God which draws us in.
Today, on the New Haven Green at least 30 beautiful and imperfect members of the family God overdosed on a substance. Pray for them, pray for their healing and recovery, and if any are to die, for the repose of their souls. Pray that those who are weakened and consumed, all of us gathered here this evening, and this whole city, pray that we may come to realize how radically loved we are by God. God’s love is so deep that nothing can keep us away from his love in Christ Jesus. So be prepared to be drawn to God, body and soul, as was the Blessed Mother. Receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and rejoice that God is near, and that he seeks to be close to you.
Hear these words from Lord Byron’s Don Juan:
Ave Maria! ‘Tis the hour of prayer!
Ave Maria! ‘Tis the hour of love!
Ave Maria! May our spirits dare
Look up to thine and to thy Son’s above!
Thanks be to God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
 Macquarrie, J. (2002). Mary for All Christians. T & T Clark Limited, 78.
 Ibid, 84.
 Ibid, 85.