A Reflection for the Feast of the Assumption 

In those days Mary set out and went with haste. (Luke 1:39-56)

Mary and Elizabeth are drawn to each other. They need each other. Elizabeth can best understand what is going on in Mary’s life. Mary can best understand what is going on in Elizabeth’s life. Their encounter is filled with gratitude, joy, new life, love, faith and promise.

Mary and Elizabeth seek to honour each other. Both are affirmed in their special vocation as mothers. Mary sings a song of joy, which praises God’s work in our human history. Together nourished by the sacrament of friendship they recognize “the treasure hidden in the field.” Both will announce in their lives the salvation of God.

For me the sacrament of friendship is perhaps the greatest of blessings. A friend can be one who is around all the time or can be someone who surprises us with his / her gratuitous love. I have been blessed with great friendships. Like Mary, I can gratefully go in haste to a trusted friend. Like Elizabeth, I have been surprised by the gratuitous love of another.

In Pakistan without the care and love of Spiritan confrères and friends (including the many people I accompanied in 3 different parishes) I could not have survived, not to mind thrived.

Back in Ireland, the love of family, friends and fellow Spiritans gives me life and joy.

From the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, through the Gospels to the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, Mary is never alone. She is always with people.

Mary who quietly represented the yearnings of her people and gathered with fellow disciples in the room upstairs, where they were staying (Acts 1:12-14), is not alone when she passes into greater life.

The communion of saints invites us to see that we are not alone. At every Mass we remember those around us, those in different parts of the world and those who have gone before us to God. It touches into a level of being that I cannot but wonder at.

-Jim O’Connell C.S.Sp.

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