From this day all generations will call me blessed.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)

The Jeddah Light Tower in Saudi Arabia is currently the tallest operating lighthouse in the world.   At 436 feet, it can cast a beam of light over a 25 nautical-mile radius.   That beacon helps sailors know where they’re headed so that they don’t venture into dangerous areas.

Just as sailors need a lighthouse, so we all need beacons to guide us on our journey to heaven.   And what better beacon could we ask for than the Virgin Mary, who has been called “Star of the Sea” since St. Jerome coined the phrase in the fifth century?   All her life she has shown us how to say yes to God.   Even as she came to the end of her life on earth and was assumed into heaven, she continued to shine.   Pope Benedict XVI once said, “By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods, we will one day share in this same glory.”

It’s not always easy to keep our eyes fixed on heaven, especially when life is hard.   The problems in front of us have a way of obscuring the glorious future that God has in store for us. But Pope Benedict reminds us that Mary’s assumption is a “luminous sign” that “shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon” (General Audience, August 16, 2006).

Mary’s assumption into heaven may have signaled the end of her physical presence on earth, but she is still very much with us.   So let her be your beacon of hope in good times and in bad.   Let her take you by the hand and lead you to her Son, Jesus.   She will reassure you of his never-ending, merciful love for you.   She will encourage you to persevere, as she did.   And she will show you that just as God had a glorious plan for her life—one she didn’t always understand—so he has a wonderful plan for you.   It’s a plan that culminates in heaven, with you standing next to all the angels and saints, joyfully worshipping her Son!

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me!”

Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
Psalm 45:10-12, 16
1 Corinthians 15:20-27

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