As we pause this weekend for the last holiday of the summer, may we reflect on the gift of work.
And so, I invite you to pray with me . . . .
Good and gracious God,
you told us from the very beginning that we would earn our bread by the sweat of our brow (Gen. 3:19).
We thank you, Lord, for the gifts and talents you have given each of us
that allow us to earn a living and contribute something positive to our world.
We depend on the migrant workers who pick our lettuce and delicious summer tomatoes,
the nurses’ aids who empty bedpans
the teachers who form our children’s minds,
the architects and construction workers who design and construct our cities.
We pray, dear Lord, for those who are without work.
Sustain them — us — in your love.
Help us to realize that we have worth as human beings,
with or without a job.
But that’s hard to get sometimes, Lord.
We worry when we have hard times.
And we get embarrassed because our society preaches to us that our worth comes from success,
of being better than the Jones’.
But we should realize our worth comes because You made us, Lord. Our worth doesn’t come from our status but simply because we are your children, God. You love us and you call us to love and support each other.
We pray, Lord, also for those who do the dirty work in our lives, Lord,
those who break their backs for us,
those who don’t even get a minimum wage,
those who don’t have access to health care,
those who cannot afford to send their kids to college.
Help us to bind together, Lord, as a community, as a nation
because we depend on one another — our police officers, the folks who stock our grocery stores,
the UPS drivers, the airline pilots, the 7/11 clerks, the ticket-takers on the turnpike,
the plumbers, the accountants, the bank tellers, the landscapers, the garbage men, the automobile mechanics,
those who clean our homes, the cooks, the waiters, the steel workers, the carpenters,
the scientists, , our doctors and nurses and yes, we writers too.
Help us to realize this weekend how dependent we are on one another, Lord.
We are ONE! We are family! We need each other.
May we give thanks for each other this Labor Day weekend, Lord. Let not any one in our country sow division among us by Creed or race, educational level or financial status or political party. We are One! we are family. We need each other!
Help us to celebrate and give thanks for each other and appreciate the value, the dignity, the contribution that each one makes to our country, our cities, our farms, our neighborhoods, and our lives.
And may we always remember the comforting words of Jesus, especially in tough times . . .
Come to me all you who labor
and are heavily burdened
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you . . .
for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
And, here’s a lovely night prayer attributed to Cardinal Newman:
O Lord, support us all the day long
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy,
grant us a safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last.
And may I suggest this weekend we might jot down the names of some of the people whose work makes our lives go better.
The next time you talk with any of them, your mail carrier or cashier, tell them you appreciate them!
Two words have great power: THANK YOU!
If only we would use those two words more often, we would ease each other’s burdens and energize each other,
and we would make trying times just a little bit easier for us all.
And before you go, here’s a spirited version of the great Celtic hymn “Lord of all Hopefulness” about the blessing of our work. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.
Enjoy. Have a great weekend!
But if your in the path of Hurricane Dorian, stay safe and pray for each other to be safe.
THE FEAST OF ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
AUGUST 15th, 2019
I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
In my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with the robe of salvation,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels. (Canticle of Isaiah)
Through the power of his Resurrection,
Christ has adorned Mary with the robe of his own glory and majesty.
In years past, the image I’ve chosen for Mary on this post was a strong one following her title from Revelations, ” A Woman Clothed with the Sun”, but this year, I’ve selected a softer one that connotes the Eastern Rites’ emphasis on the “Dormition” of our Lady or her “falling asleep”, and then being taken up into heaven.
Here’s a bit about this Feast (or Solemnity, as we call it in the liturgy.)
First of all, it’s a celebration of the body and an exaltation of womanhood.
In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared as a dogma of the church something that we Catholics have believed throughout the church’s history ~ that Mary was taken up into heaven, body and soul, to sit at her Son’s side for all eternity.
The Blessed Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven makes clear to us that there is room for our humanity in heaven. Mary’s Assumption assures us that what Jesus accomplished in rising from the dead was not limited to his own Person—even though we are not divine, we too are meant to be in heaven with the Incarnate Son, in his home with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Blessed Mother’s birth into heaven generates in us “ an ever new capacity to await God’s future.” (Saint John Paul II). Just as grace does not destroy but perfects our nature, so the glory of heaven will include our whole humanity, body and soul! “That transformation of our mortal bodies to which we look forward one day has been accomplished—we know it for certain—in her” (Msgr. Ronald Knox). (~ From the Magnificat liturgical magazine / August 2019 – p. 202.
Everyone was quite startled when the distinguished psychiatrist Carl Jung, who was not a Catholic, said that this declaration about Mary was “the greatest religious event since the reformation.” And by the way, Martin Luther believed in the Assumption of the Virgin.
Here’s the entire text of what he had to say. You ought to read this; what he says is truly amazing coming from a psychiatrist and a non-Catholic!
The promulgation of the new dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary could, in itself, have been sufficient reason for examining the psychological background. It is interesting to note that, among the many articles published in the Catholic and Protestant press on the declaration of the dogma, there was not one, so far as I could see, which laid anything like proper emphasis on what was undoubtedly the most powerful motive: namely the popular movement and the psychological need behind it. Essentially, the writers of the articles were satisfied with learned considerations, dogmatic and historical, which have no bearing on the living religious process. But anyone who has followed with attention the visions of Mary which have been increasing in number over the last few decades, and has taken their psychological significance into account, might have known what was brewing. The fact, especially, that it was largely children who had the visions might have given pause for thought, for in such cases, the collective unconscious is always at work …One could have known for a long time that there was a deep longing in the masses for an intercessor and mediatrix who would at last take her place alongside the Holy Trinity and be received as the ‘Queen of heaven and Bride at the heavenly court.’ For more than a thousand years it has been taken for granted that the Mother of God dwelt there.
I consider it to be the most important religious event since the Reformation. It is a petra scandali for the unpsycholgical mind: how can such an unfounded assertion as the bodily reception of the Virgin into heaven be put forward as worthy of belief? But the method which the Pope uses in order to demonstrate the truth of the dogma makes sense to the psychological mind, because it bases itself firstly on the necessary prefigurations, and secondly on a tradition of religious assertions reaching back for more than a thousand years. What outrages the Protestant standpoint in particular is the boundless approximation of the Deipara to the Godhead and, in consequence, the endangered supremacy of Christ, from which Protestantism will not budge. In sticking to this point it has obviously failed to consider that its hymnology is full of references to the ‘heavenly bridegroom,’ who is now suddenly supposed not to have a bride with equal rights. Or has, perchance, the ‘bridegroom,’ in true psychologistic manner, been understood as a mere metaphor?
The dogmatizing of the Assumption does not, however, according to the dogmatic view, mean that Mary has attained the status of goddess, although, as mistress of heaven and mediatrix, she is functionally on a par with Christ, the king and mediator. At any rate her position satisfies a renewed hope for the fulfillment of that yearning for peace which stirs deep down in the soul, and for a resolution of the threatening tension between opposites. Everyone shares this tension and everyone experiences it in his individual form of unrest, the more so the less he sees any possibility of getting rid of it by rational means. It is no wonder, therefore, that the hope, indeed the expectation of divine intervention arises in the collective unconscious and at the same time in the masses. The papal declaration has given comforting expression to that yearning. How could Protestantism so completely miss the point?
I was amazed and thrilled when I discovered this text and again when I’ve just now re-read it.
And I’ve always loved to pray and sing these words from the preface of the Mass of the day:
Today the virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven
as the beginning and the image
of your Church’s coming to perfection
and a sign of sure of hope and comfort for your people
on their pilgrim way.
Mary is the first disciple of her Son.
She is the one who said Yes! “Be it done unto me according to Your word.”
Each of us who bear witness to Christ give birth to him in our own way.
May we honor Mary on this wonderful feast day and enjoy this late summer day and exalt the women in our life as well!
On August 22nd, the octave of the Assumption we celebrate a minor feast ~ the Queenship of Mary. I honor her as my queen. Now this may sound a bit odd, my friends, but I take her shopping with me. I thanked her for finding my lovely condo. I signed the documents for the condo on August 15th, 2008 ~ my home for eleven years as of today.
Now, from ~ and in honor of ~Notre Dame de Paris ~ (may she rise again from her ashes,) here is a the Magnificat sung led by a choir boy with congregation responding. Click here. And be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.