August 2018 Allocutio
By Fr. Bede McGregor O.P. Spiritual Director to the Concilium
The Assumption of Mary and her presence in the daily life of the Legion
In a certain sense, the Assumption is the greatest feast of Our Lady, both for herself and for us. By God’s grace, she fulfils her destiny, her mission, she brings to perfect completion the plan God had for her from all eternity. The Assumption is God’s final gift to Mary. She now lives her life in the heart of the mystery of the Trinity, no longer in faith but in the joy of vision. Her joy is beyond all our human imagining, there is nothing lacking to her that can be given to a creature, and it will be so for all eternity. So we can no longer now understand the identity. So we can no longer now understand the identity and mission of Mary apart from the reality of the Assumption. It really is the glorious mystery of Mary.
But the Assumption is not only God’s ultimate gift to Mary; it is also a sublime gift of God to each one of us in the reality of our daily lives. How and why is this so? Let us begin our reflection with a quotation from Leon Bloy who says: ‘The more holy a woman is the more woman she is.’ This principle is of course true for man as well; the closer he comes to God the more human he becomes, the more manly and if he is a father the better father he will be, and if he is a priest the more human and better priest he will be. It is true for every one of us; the closer we come to God the more we become the person God planned and wanted us to be: we find our full and true identity.
Now let us apply this principle to Mary. During her life on earth she was already close to God but in the Assumption into heaven she comes as close to God as it is possible for a human person to come. So Mary becomes more perfectly a woman than any other woman can possibly be. Let us concentrate a little on her motherhood of us in heaven. Before the Assumption, Mary was limited by time and place. She could not be in two different places at the same time unless she had been given the gift of bi-location and there is no evidence that she had this gift. But now in her risen and glorified body Mary is no longer limited by the dimensions of time and place so she is universally present to each one of us wherever we are and at every moment. This presence is not only a human one but a maternal one. Jesus gave Mary to us as our Mother while he was dying on the Cross and now in the Assumption this motherhood is perfected beyond our wildest dreams. This presence of Mary to us is of course different from the presence of God in us. Without God’s presence in us we would cease to exist, it is a creative presence and now a redemptive presence too. But the presence of Mary to us is a most precious gift of intimacy with her given to us by God on Calvary and made perfect in her Assumption into heaven. Some of the Fathers of the Church tell us that when God the Son became man he did not leave the side of the Father and when he returned to the Father he did not leave the side of mankind. Perhaps we could say the same of Mary by analogy: when Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven she did not leave the side of mankind but became closer to us and more intimately present to us as our Mother.
Obviously it is important for us legionaries to deepen our awareness of the intimate presence of Mary to us in our own interior life and our apostolate and it would also be helpful to reflect on the power of Mary’s intercession accentuated by he Assumption into heaven. So many of the saints tell us about the kind of life they expected to live in heaven. St. Therese of Lisieux said she would spend her heaven doing good on earth. St Dominic assured the brethren that he would be of more use to them in heaven than he could be on earth. And our own Founder Frank Duff was asked several times what he thought heaven would be like and he replied in these and similar words: ‘I won’t be hanging around doing nothing.’ So if the saints see heaven as the opportunity for a more effective apostolate on earth one can imagine how immeasurably more Our Lady will continue her maternal mission on earth and delight in using her legionaries and all her children as her instruments in the salvation of souls.
Finally, since in many parts of the world, even in Catholic circles, there is a temptation to discouragement in the Christian life and apostolate and a sense that evil seems to be triumphant in many cultures, let us turn to the mystery of the Assumption as a great sign of hope. Mary, the new Eve will indeed crush the head of Satan and in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. In the end evil does not have the last word and this is at the centre of the truth and reality of the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven.