Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven
[Scripture Readings: Rev 11:19a;, 12:1-6a, 10ab; 1 Cor 15:20-26; Lk 1:39-56 ]
The Assumption is the patronal feast of our Order, and of our community. Why is that?
A key principle enunciated by Pope Pius XII when he defined this doctrine was the principle of consortium: the principle that Mary was always sharing in the lot of Christ.
She shared in His sinless conception, His life of ministry, His passion, and now in His resurrection. As contemplatives we focus today on her sharing in these things interiorly. And we celebrate her sharing in His entire salvific life immediately.
It is a feast of our Order and community because interiorly, we want to share the lot of Christ. But we must wait for a complete sharing in all aspects of Christ's lot. That is why a man and woman enters this life. That is why the life is structured such as it is. And Mary is the promise that this sharing can happen.
This sharing is done principally through humility, that is through living in the truth. And the truth is that because we do not share in a sinless conception, we struggle with a prideful autonomy. Interiorly, we are resistant. We are resistant to living interiorly!
Yet, we desire to share in His lot because we were interiorly attracted by His story. But knowing the story does not overcome our resistance to living it. Interiorly, in the heart, we remain individually resistant. (A message is received only insofar as the receiver is ready to receive it.) We resist it by seeking diversions. Diversions help us avoid one unpleasant truth: our limitedness. Accepting limitedness was the lot of Christ who “emptied Himself” and became a scapegoat to expose our interior resistance. St. Benedict knew, if we are to share in the lot of Christ, we need a story and a community … and patience.
Jesus was formed by the story of the Israelite community and He in turn gave His story of a New Covenant to a community. When we share in His story and community we share in His lot and receive the power to live out the story as He would have each of us. It becomes no longer “a story,” but “our story.”
Both scripture and the Rule create our community when we reflect on them and believe in the past which they record. We use them to understand our present world and this shared understanding unites us.
With Mary and the Cistercian community, I share in the lot of Christ when I inherit, contribute to, and am shaped by the Christian story in the Cistercian tradition. It is then that His story become's no longer “a story,” but “my story.”