Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said the viewpoint that had most influenced his life was the following thought… “Some people grumble because God placed thorns among roses. Why not thank God because He placed roses among thorns?”
The older I get, the more I respect the profound impact that attitude has on one’s life. A person’s outlook has greater bearing on his or her destiny than circumstances and upbringing, failures and successes, education, ability, or giftedness. Our attitudes shape how we face everyday trials and how we emerge from life’s struggles and challenges.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. The Assumption is a source of great hope for us, for it is through Mary’s attitude, her humble service to God, her self-sacrificing love, her indestructible faith, and her perfect obedience that we seek to imitate and live our life. Her Assumption into heaven points the way for all followers of Christ who imitate her fidelity and obedience to do God’s will. Where she is now, is where we are meant to eventually be… and may hope to be through Divine grace. Mary’s assumption into heaven after her life on Earth was ended is the logical outcome of her immaculate nature, uniquely protected from personal sin by God’s grace. It is a sign to us that someday, through our attitudes and efforts, we too may join the Blessed Virgin Mary in giving glory to God.
Even though our own attitudes are commanding forces, like Mary, we have the power to control and shape them. With the assistance of the Spirit, and Mary’s intercession, we can choose in every moment of every day to either be grateful for the roses or to grumble about the thorns. The apostle Paul understood this, and to assist us, he left us to contemplate this powerful and beautifully expressed reflection: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
If you have never heard this story of the Assumption of Mary, I hope this brief retelling leads you to pause about the attitude of Mary, our rose among thorns…
Mary’s time on Earth drew to a conclusion. Around her bed knelt the apostles and disciples of Jesus. Her soul was surely filled with peace and joy as she eagerly awaited her reunion with Jesus, her Son. The Blessed Virgin Mary closed her eyes and fell asleep in death.
Those present felt both an overwhelming joy and a profound grief. Joy that Mary was now united with her Son and grief at the loss of their Mother. They would have to wait for their own earthly journey to come to an end before they would see her and their Lord, Jesus again. The Apostles and the Holy Women prepared Mary’s body for burial. They devoutly and lovingly laid her to rest.
When the Apostles went to the tomb to pray the following day, Mary’s body was gone, replaced with the sound of birds singing and the lovely scent of flowers. Mary was conceived without sin and Jesus would not allow her body to decay.
The devil had no power over her. Jesus took her body and soul up to Heaven where He had a place prepared for her. There she is now, among the angels and the saints praising God and interceding on her dear children’s behalf.
(Excerpt from http://www.how-to-pray-the-rosary-everyday.com/assumption-of-mary.html.)
Jaclyn Mullooly is Liturgy coordinator for Old St. Patrick’s Church.