We’re celebrating the feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven today. And I am reminded today of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.’s great love of the Blessed Mother. In his book Nearer My God, he explained why people there are pilgrims in Lourdes, France, and provided insight into what religious faith meant in his life:
They are in Lourdes because of this palpability of the emanations that gave birth to the shrine. The spiritual tonic is felt. If it were otherwise, the pilgrims would diminish in number; would, by now, have disappeared, as at Delphos, which one visits as a museum, not a shrine. What it is that fetches them is I think quite simply stated, namely a reinforced conviction that the Lord God loves His creatures, healthy or infirm; that they — we — must understand the nature of love, which is salvific its powers; and that although we are free to attempt to divine God’s purpose, we will never succeed in doing so. The reason is that we cannot know (the manifest contradictions are too disturbing) what is the purpose behind particular phenomena and therefore must make do with only the grandest plan of God, which treats with eternal salvation. Our burden is to keep the faith: to do this (the grammar of ascent) requires the discipline of submission, some assurance that those who are stricken can, even so, be happy; and that the greatest tonic of all is divine love, which is nourished by human love, even as human love is nourished by divine love.
We do miss that man.
More on today here.
B16 in Rome with a prayer earlier today:
May the example and prayers of Mary, Queen of Heaven, inspire and sustain us on our pilgrimage of faith, that we may rejoice with her in the glory of the resurrection and the fulfilment of her Son’s promises.
“Today, in union with the whole Church, we celebrate the triumph of the Mother, Daughter and Spouse of God. And just as we rejoiced at the resurrection of our Lord three days after his death, we are now happy that Mary, after accompanying Jesus from Bethlehem to the cross, is next to her Son in body and soul, glorious forever.
“Behold the mystery of the divine economy. Our Lady, a full participant in the work of our salvation, follows in the footsteps of her Son: the poverty of Bethlehem, the everyday work of a hidden life in Nazareth, the manifestation of his divinity in Cana of Galilee, the tortures of his passion, the divine sacrifice on the cross, the eternal blessedness of paradise.
“All of this affects us directly, because this supernatural itinerary is the way we are to follow. Mary shows us that we can walk this path with confidence. She has preceded us on the way of imitating Christ, her glorification is the firm hope of our own salvation. For these reasons we call her “our hope, cause of our joy.”
“We can never lose hope of becoming holy, of accepting the invitations of God, of persevering until the very end. God, who has begun in us the work of our sanctification, will bring it to completion. Because if the Lord “is with us, who can be against us? After having not spared his very own Son, but rather turned him over to death for us, after having thus given us his Son, can he fail to give us every good thing?
“On this feast, everything points to joy.”