Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August ~ Month of the Assumption

SOME YEARS AGO A GERMAN RADIO STATION looked for a Catholic priest who would speak about the Feast of the Assumption on their program. After an exhaustive search and out of luck, they resorted to inviting a Jungian Analyst who addressed the topic eagerly. Why priests would not be happy to speak about Mary's Assumption, I don't know. Are they too busy? Or like the French clergy who told Pope John Paul II NOT to visit Ars, the parish-home of St. John Vianney, the Patron of the Parish Clergy, "He no longer reflects us" - they have grown disenchanted or even dis-believing. 

Anyway, the Feast of the Assumption, Mary's Easter, is celebrated on August 15. We we might use these early August days as a time to get ready. A Greek monk told me that the West has lost its ascetical dimension. I understand. Eastern Christians anticipate Mary's feast day with a mini-Lent.  A fast precedes a feast. Maybe we can re-introduce some fasting discipline (of our own creating) so to prepare spiritually.

Though lovely, most pictures of the Assumption show Mary flying gloriously in space, often surrounded by little angels. These masterly paintings may cause us to have religious feelings, but they don't really help us to understand deeply  in mind or heart. We might say they are spiritually naive, as if all there is to Mary's Assumption is her zooming off into space, however beautifully.

So what has happened? Mary's earthly life has ended and she has entered fully into God's inner life, which is a life of family ~ a life of relationship. At Baptism, while pouring water, the priest said, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I am made for community: soaked, drenched and flooded with it. In heaven, we'll be assumed into a life of relatedness with God and the blessed ~ a community of persons we call Trinity. Our Christian message is: Never again loneliness; never again isolation!

That promise is far-reaching. Maybe in anticipation of Mary's Feast of Resurrection and entrance into the Trinitarian life we could pray each day, between now and the 15th, for our Caribbean neighbors to the south. Apart from using these island nations as our gated-community-winter-playground they often remain places of terrible poverty, troubles and sadness.

The slave ships stopped everywhere, and these little countries still bear and manifest those origins. The Caribbean is comprised of over 7000 islands: about 21 -27 nations. The Bahamas is made up of 501 islands.  Puerto Rico, 142 islands. These are the names of the Caribbean islands generally considered countries:

Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Dominican Republic
Netherlands Antilles
Puerto Rico
Saint Kitts/Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United States Virgin Islands


  1. Never again lonliness. Never again isolation. If only we could do more to rid the world of these awful feelings now rather than having to wait until death frees us. For this I will continue to pray. Thank you for reminding us.

  2. Sometimes the best we can do is to live in, "If only".