Meditation: How strong is your hope in the promises of God? Mary is a model of faith and hope for us. And she is among "the first-fruits" of "all those who belong to Jesus" and who share in his triumph (1 Corinthians15:20-24). There is a venerable tradition dating back to the early church which marks Mary's "falling asleep" (called the Feast of Dormition in many Eastern churches) and her heavenly birthday when she was received into heaven. Her reception into heaven is seen as a sign to all believing Christians of the promise Jesus made that we too would be received into paradise. At the last supper Jesus told his disciples that he would prepare a place for them in his Father's house. "And when I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:3).
The Holy Spirit makes faith come alive within us
What enabled Mary to grow in faith and to persevere in hope in the face of obstacles and trials? The Gospel of Luke reveals the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in Mary's life. When Elizabeth and Mary greeted one another they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with a joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise to give a Savior. John the Baptist, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to his coming and leapt for joy in the womb of his mother as the Holy Spirit revealed to him the presence of the Anointed King in the womb of Mary.
Those who are humble and hungry for God receive his Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God's gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God reigns within each of us. Mary accepted her mission with uncompromising faith and obedience. She acted with unwavering trust and faith because she believed that God would fulfill the word he had spoken. Her great hymn of praise echoes the song of Hannah (see 1 Samuel 2:1-10) and proclaims the favor of the Lord: God exalts the lowly and he fills the hungry.
The Holy Spirit fills us with the joy and hope of heaven
The Holy Spirit is ever ready to renew your faith and hope in God's promises and to make you strong in love for God and your neighbor. Do you live in the joy and confidence of God's indwelling presence with you through his Holy Spirit?
"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking you more closely. Increase my faith in all your promises, my hope in the joys of heaven, and my love for You as my All."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/