Br. Peter Damian shares on why we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
On August 15, each year we celebrate the solemnity of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the universal Church Calendar. But the Assumption is also the Patronal feast of our Cistercian Order. We venerate and honor Mary the Queen of heaven and earth because God has done the great things for her. In the Magnificat, The Blessed Virgin Mary recognizes these great things. Therefore, her soul magnifies the Lord; therefore her spirit rejoices in God her Savior. Therefore, out of love, full of joy, she expresses her gratitude toward God, “for the Mighty One has done the great things for me.” (Lk 1:49b)
She expresses her gratitude because God has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness, the most humble one. The one who shows a humble obedience to God’s will with her faith and said “Fiat” to the Lord: “Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.” (Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word). She did not say, “Let it be done to me according to my word or to my own will, but according to God’s Word”.
She expressed her gratitude because God has shown “His mercy from age to age to those who fear Him.” The Virgin Mary expresses her gratitude toward God not only for herself, but also on behalf of her race, her people Israel: “He has helped Israel his servant, remembering His mercy...” God’s mercy has been shown throughout the history of his chosen people. Now Mary acknowledges the great things which God has done for her which would bring the promise of salvation to its fulfillment. God has chosen her to be the Mother of God, the Mother of the Savior, and by the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High, she conceived the Son of God in her womb, the second Person of the Holy Trinity who came into the world and saved “His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21b).
Finally, in heaven our Virgin Mary acknowledges one more great thing, perhaps the greatest God has done for her. That is, through the merit of Her Son Jesus Christ, she was assumed into heaven with body and soul to share in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection. In heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary is exalted to be the Queen of heaven and earth. This Queen is our Advocate, our intercessor before her Son. While we are journeying on earth, let us lift up our hearts to Mary, let us set our hope in her, the Mother of mercy. For some day we will join the Blessed Virgin Mary in heaven. May our Queen of heaven and earth intercede for us.