15 August 2012

'The babe in my womb leaped for joy.' The Assumption

Assumption of the Virgin, Egid Quirin Asam (sculpted 1717-1725)

The Assumption is a fest that celebrates what we profess in the Nicene Creed, I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and in the Apostles' Creed, I believe in . . . the resurrection of the body. We rejoice in the fact that what we hope for at the end of time, the resurrection of our bodies in glory, has already happened to Mary.

I was really struck at Mass this morning at the fact that the gospel was about the beginning of life, not the end of life, Luke 1:39-56. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy"(Luke 1:41-44, RSV CE).  

Some years ago after celebrating Mass on the feast of the Visitation, when this same gospel is read, I gave a blessing to a girl in her teens, not married and pregnant. She found it very difficult to accept the baby as her own. After I had blessed her and her baby she told me that she could feel the child moving in her womb and that she felt at peace with the situation.

Yesterday two married friends  posted the photo above of their first but not yet born child on Facebook. Remember Sean and Hara and their 23-week-old baby still 'in hiding' in your prayers.

Today's feast is a celebration of our dignity as bodily beings created by God, human beings whose lives are sacred from the moment of conception.

Irish soprano Regina Nathan sings Hail, Queen of Heaven by Fr John Lingard at the Faith of Our Fathers concert in Dublin in 1997.

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