The sleeping of Mary

The actual word is ‘Dormition’, not ‘sleeping’, but it means the same,  It is the Greek Orthodox title for the feast of August 15th which the Catholic Church calls the ‘Assumption’ of Mary. Even that word is a conundrum.  It is the word we use for Mary being taken up into heaven after her death. But then we might ask why do we have this special word?

When Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life’ or ‘I am the light of the world’, we have some idea what he means. We know what bread is and what light is. But when he says ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ do we have any idea what this could mean?

Aretha Franklin, an African American singer, has just died. A startling picture of her in a red robe appears today on the front page of the Irish Times and inside the paper a whole page is devoted to her.  She sang at Obama’s first Inauguration and her voice “soothed and scalded” America for five decades.  She suffered much in her early days but clearly triumphed later.  She was a lady who fulfilled her dream.

Fulfilment is what we are born for and every person has the seed of it within.  The Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary, and the Orthodox equivalent, is a celebration of the total fulfilment of everything Mary was born to be. And when we celebrate her we celebrate every person who achieved fulfilment in life even in the most simple things. I once met a mental and physically handicapped girl in the Ivory Coast whose whole task in life seemed to be to give joy to others through her smile. She died at 13, her life fulfilled.

The world is very competitive.  We measure ourselves in relation to others; their qualifications, achievements – even their looks.  This can obscure the often hidden inner seed in each of us which is longing to come out and blossom. Each of us has our own measure.  When we sleep for the last time may it be the sleep of one who has fulfilled their own personal dream!

15 August 2018                                   The Assumption of Mary

Revelations 11:19, 12:1-6, 10  1 Corinthians 15:20-26                        Luke 1:39-56

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  1. Andy Kadir-Buxton

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