Fr Dominic Robinson gave this homily last night, during Mass at Farm Street Church, in Mayfair, London, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.
You may have become acquainted already with our new commission by Andrew White, our artist-in-residence, called Mother Mary - just over there. It's challenged me to wonder who Mary really was. The indescribable but deeply engaging is captured so well in this portrait. The beauty of her as a person, her gentle loving disposition, her serenely prayerful heart. And that leads us to ask why she is so important for us. To appreciate more fully what she did out of love for us in saying yes to the Lord's call to be mother, to be mother of Jesus and so in the divine plan for all time the mother of God and so also mother of us all. A simple but courageous young girl. Playing the most pivotal role in God's plan a Christian disciple ever has.
This Feast Day invites us to draw our attention to her for who she is as a person and how important she is as a model for us. Yes, Mary always draws us to Jesus, but we rightly focus on her in particular on certain days during the year. And this Feast of the Assumption finds its way into our calendar to help us to meditate for ourselves on who she is and just why we honour her.
Mary invites us through the movement of the heart to a greater and greater anticipation of her son. For she knew him and loved him more than anyone else ever could as his mother. Her heart truly beat alongside his human heart. She knew him in his human nature more fully than anyone ever could. That intimacy with the Lord so close no one has ever or could ever eclipse it. And she yearned too to be fulfilled in her loving, to realize her own divine destiny, to co-operate in his plan for salvation.
And so this young girl from Nazareth takes a special place in God's plan for the world. She is placed alongside her son as our mother too in heaven, protecting us, teaching us how to be human, leading us to her son. She was and is not divine. No, she takes her place alongside her son precisely because she is a human being like us in every way. Yes, conceived immaculate and remaining sinless, but she was not God. Nevertheless she embraced the life of the virtues - a life of generous service, of responsibility for her family, above all for her son for whom she gave up everything so salvation could come to us through him. And that took patience, humility, struggle, generous self-giving. Above all love. Above all a love which needed to let go. The love which wants to cling yet must allow our loved one to be about their business - surely amid the perplexity mustn't Mary have felt this in the temple, and at the wedding feast in Cana, and of course in his passion and death. But this love which needs to let go is deeply human and a necessary step on the Christian journey we are all on. A journey which yearns too to be with the Son. Which yearns too for heaven.
Yes, Mary, now assumed into heaven, knows the yearnings of the human heart, of our desire for completion. And she discovered that as a real woman, a real human being who loved and was called to give her whole life to the plan Our Lord had for her in the mystery of salvation. And she shows us that, despite the sorrows that brings, she can rejoice and she can embrace the glory prepared for her. She can joyfully pray the Magnificat: "my soul magnifies the Lord"; and she can embrace that perfect peace which is the ultimate fulfillment of all our human longings in being assumed into paradise body and soul to be at the side of her Son, reigning in glory.
Farm Street Church - https://farmstreet.org.uk
Artist Andrew White - http://andrewwhiteartist.com/
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