We celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary last week, it is well deserved we say a few words more. all Marian celebrations are at the same time a testament to our devotion as well as a testament to our faith. The purpose of devotion is to draw close to a divine presence, in a personal way. It is to be understood that the initiative is always God’s and since God always draws near in a personal way, what may be a devotional practice for some may not be for others. This is important to highlight, if the initiative of God is not recognizable, what passes for a devotion the essence will be missing. On the other hand, devotion, as a testament of our faith, will always be rooted in the person of God, specifically, the person of Christ.
For example, we have a devotion to Our Lady of Soledad. In this devotion, we are able to recognize the pain and suffering of Mary who witnessed the passion and death of her son. In Mary, we are able to see the maternal courage of the woman who held in her arms the newborn author of life and in her lament, exclaims the costly nature of faith: greater than death is the love of God!
In this scene, Our Lady of Soledad becomes an inspiration to recognize that our own suffering is not lost in the sands of rejection. That Mary, a person just like ourselves, points to the life that God always grants. A life that is greater than death, greater than any death! Let it be noted, the devotion points to and is transformed into a testament of faith in God.
In the Solemnity of Our Lady of Soledad, we find a devotion that dates back to the first centuries of the Church. This devotion draws us to that moment when the Virgin Mother “slept”. She held in her arms, Jesus, in life and in death, and is now in the arms of the Lord of life and death. This silent moment becomes solemn as it draws us to recognize that we have a share of the same grace. God holds in his arms all that is our life and very being. This is of great consolation, there is no moment that God does not hold. This allows us to recognize with a greater sense of gratitude, all the moments of joy in life and, how with the strength of faith, we are able to manage the most difficult moments. Once again, the testament of our devotion reveals a testament of faith. God holds all life and all death. This means that God is with us; that God is Emmanuel’ that God is Christ.
There are not enough words to describe adequately the relationship between devotion and faith. But, there is one last point that needs to be made. Our Lady, as found in the New Testament, is a call that we be Church. In us, through the working of the Holy Spirit, Christ is born anew. In us is given the encounter with God where we uncover the divine initiative, filled with power, fidelity, and mercy. In church, God inspires, consoles and strengthens.
This is the Church that Our Lord calls us to be. A place where all can find hope, fraternity and the strength necessary to transform our world into the Reign of God.
-Fr. Francisco Gomez, S.T.