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Feast of the Assumption: Benedict XVI's homily
These are extracts from Pope Benedict XVI's homily given at Casto Gandolfo on 15 August 2006.
St Augustine says: "Before conceiving the Lord in her body Mary had already conceived him in her soul." She had made room for the Lord in her soul and thus really became the true temple where God made himself incarnate, where he became present on this earth.
Thus, being God's dwelling place on earth, in her the eternal dwelling place has already been prepared; it has already been prepared for forever. And this constitutes the whole content of the dogma of the assumption of Mary, body and soul, into heavenly glory, expressed here in these words. Mary is "blessed" because - totally, in body and soul and forever - she became the Lord's dwelling place.
Let us listen once again to Elizabeth's words fulfilled in Mary's Magnificat: "Blessed is she who believed." The first and fundamental act in order to become a dwelling place of God and thus find definitive happiness is to believe: It is faith, faith in God, in that God who showed himself in Jesus Christ and makes himself heard in the divine word of holy Scripture.
Believing is not adding an opinion to others. And the conviction, the belief that God exists, is not information like any other. Regarding most information, it makes no difference to us whether it is true or false; it does not usually change our lives. But if God does not exist, life is empty, the future is empty. And if God exists, everything changes, life is light, our future is light and we have guidance for how to live. Therefore, believing constitutes the fundamental orientation of our life.
To believe, to say: "Yes, I believe that you are God, I believe that you are present among us in the incarnate Son," gives my life a direction, impels me to be attached to God, to unite with God and so to find my dwelling place, and the way to live.
"All generations will call you blessed": This means that the future, what is to come, belongs to God, it is in God's hands, that it is God who conquers. And truly God is vulnerable in the world, because he is love and love is vulnerable. Yet he holds the future in his hands: It is love, not hatred, that triumphs; it is peace that is victorious in the end.
This is the great consolation contained in the dogma of Mary's assumption body and soul into heavenly glory.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 23 No 7 (August 2010), p. 2
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