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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Aug. 15, 2010

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

August 15, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Cycle C Readings:

1) Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

Psalm 45:10-12, 16

2) 1 Corinthians 15:20-27

Gospel: Luke 1:39-56

Over the years, I have had a number of conversations with non-Catholics about the role of Mary in our faith. Though some of these dialogues have been heated, most have been fairly civil. But they've shown me some key misunderstandings that Protestants have regarding the place of honor Catholics reserve for Mary.

The most common misconception is that we pray to Mary in the same way we pray to Jesus. This is simply not true.

We pray to her in the sense that we ask her to pray for us. This notion has its origins in the story of the wedding at Cana in John's Gospel. The wine runs out at a wedding, a situation that would be a huge embarrassment to the hosts, so Mary intervenes on their behalf.

She does not go buy more wine or take up a collection of wineskins from neighbors. No, she sees a problem and goes straight to Jesus, who, as the story goes, performs his first miracle by turning common water into choice wine.

Another mistaken belief is that we worship Mary and other saints. Just because we have statues of them does not mean we worship them.

Worship is due to God alone.

Instead, we venerate, or honor, these holy men and women. In many ways, the saints and Mary are like a hall of fame of Christianity. Just as various sports lift up their superstars for others to learn from and emulate, we raise to a special level of recognition those who have followed Jesus and lived the Christian faith in exemplary fashion.

The highest of these examples is Mary, for she is the most excellent model for our faith. From teaching us how to solve problems to showing us how to completely surrender our will to that of the Father to leading the way to heaven, Mary is our model.

The feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary reveals two things to us: First, it reveals that Mary participated in her Son's resurrection in a unique way, and second, in a special way it gives us a reason to anticipate our own share in the resurrection. If we but follow her example, we may follow her to heaven.


Have you ever been challenged in your Catholic faith? How do you respond when that happens? What role do Mary and the saints play in your personal faith life?


"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Luke 1:45).


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