I ask everyone to take a Beacons of Light flyer home with them today. With this, and in light of the Solemnity of the Assumption we celebrated on Monday, I offer this beautiful homily from Pope Benedict XVI on the significance of Mary’s Assumption, and how she becomes for us a true beacon of light as we journey through this life to Heaven. During this time, and always, let us keep our eyes fixed on our Stella Maris, our Star of the Sea, who will guide us through life’s challenges as only she can. May God bless you in the week ahead and may Mother Mary lead you more deeply into the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus. I remain,
Affectionately Yours in Christ,
“We have a Mother in Heaven. Heaven is open, Heaven has a heart. In the Gospel, we hear the “Magnificat”, that great poem that came from Mary's lips, from Mary's heart. This marvelous canticle mirrors the entire soul, the entire personality of Mary. This hymn of hers is a portrait of Mary, a true icon in which we can see her exactly as she is. It begins with the word "Magnificat": my soul "magnifies" the Lord, that is, "proclaims the greatness" of the Lord. Mary wanted God to be great in the world, great in her life, and present among us all. She was not afraid that God might be a "rival" in our life, that with his greatness he might encroach on our freedom, our vital space. She knew that if God is great, we too are great. Our life is not oppressed but raised and expanded: it is precisely then that it becomes great in the splendor of God.
The fact that our first parents thought the contrary was the core of original sin. They feared that if God were too great, he would take something away from their life. They thought that they could set God aside to make room for themselves. More and more people today think and say: "But this God does not give us our freedom; with all his commandments, he restricts the space in our lives. So God has to disappear; we want to be autonomous and independent. Without this God we ourselves would be gods and do as we pleased". This is how it is in our modern age. It is thought and believed that by setting God aside and being autonomous, following only our own ideas and inclinations, we can truly be free to do whatever we like without anyone being able to give us orders. But when God disappears, men and women do not become greater; indeed, they lose the divine dignity, their faces lose God's splendor. They turn out to be products and, as such, can be used and abused. But only if God is great is humankind also great. With Mary, we must begin to understand that this is so. We must not drift away from God but make God present; we must ensure that he is great in our lives. Thus, we too will become divine; all the splendor of the divine dignity will then be ours. It is important that God be great in our lives, in public and in private life. In public life, it is important that God be present, for example, through the cross on public buildings, for only if God is present do we have a common direction; otherwise, disputes become impossible to settle, for our common dignity is no longer recognized. Let us make God great in public and in private life. This means making room for God in everyday life, starting the day with prayers, dedicating time to God, giving Sundays to God. We do not waste our free time if we offer it to God. If God enters into our time, all time becomes greater, roomier, richer.
Mary's “Magnificat” is original; yet it is a "fabric" woven throughout of "threads" of God’s words. Mary was "at home" with God's word, she lived on God's word, she was penetrated by God's word. To the extent that she spoke with God's words, she thought with God's words, her thoughts were God's thoughts, her words, God's words. She was penetrated by divine light and this is why she was so resplendent, so good, so radiant with love and goodness. Mary lived on the Word of God, she was imbued with the Word of God. And the fact that she was immersed in the Word of God and was totally familiar with the Word also endowed her later with the inner light of wisdom. Whoever thinks with God thinks well, and whoever speaks to God speaks well. They have valid criteria to judge all the things of the world. They become prudent, wise, and good; they also become strong and courageous with the strength of God, who resists evil and fosters good in the world. Thus, Mary speaks with us, speaks to us, invites us to know the Word of God, to love the Word of God, to live with the Word of God, to think with the Word of God: by reading Sacred Scripture, by participating in the Liturgy, in which Holy Church opens the entire book of Sacred Scripture to us. She opens it to our lives and makes it present in our lives.
Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of Heaven and earth. So is she really remote from us? The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us. While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, "within" all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a "mother" to whom we can turn at every moment. She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us. On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day. Amen.”