Often, when I think about the Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary, I remember the legend about her death. She saw all the last living Apostles before she died except for Thomas, the Doubter. When Thomas finally arrived, Mary had already died and been buried. Thomas was very upset, and he asked to see her body one last time, and so the Apostles opened the tomb and found her empty casket.
I have imagined that moment hundreds of times, thinking that no human being has ever seen Mary being assumed into heaven. But I see in my heart God stretching down his hand and simply bringing her up into heaven, body and soul, to be with Him, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. When I imagine God pulling Mary up into heaven, I now think of Mary in heaven, pulling us out of the trials, sorrows, illnesses, and problems each of us have in our lives. Imagine: Our Blessed Mother, now in heaven, reaching down and pulling us up out of our troubles, caring for us with her wonderful motherly love, and bringing us to a place of peace and calmness in our own lives.
I imagine Mary, our most powerful Mother of God, caring so much for each of us, her children, that she raises us like she was raised up and pulls us out of the pain, loneliness, and problems that each of us face each day. When we are in economic hardships, or worry about a child, or are disturbed about so many different things that we face in life, Mary can pull us out of that and bring us peace and calmness.
As we prepare to celebrate this great feast of Our Lady and pray this novena in her honor, I ask you to remember not only your deep needs, but also the needs of the Franciscan Friars.
Thank you for your constant devotion to Mary, the model of every believer, and for your wonderful generosity, which changes so many lives in so many magnificent ways.