“While she lived on this earth, she could only be close to a few people. Being in God who is close to us, actually, “within’ all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God.”

Benedict XIV

Monday, 16 August 2021

Luke 1:39-56

“While she lived on this earth, she could only be close to a few people. Being in God who is close to us, actually, “within’ all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, who is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord, said, precisely as “mother” to whom we can turn at every moment”

(Benedict XIV)

This past Sunday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. The belief that Mary was taken body and soul to be with God at the end of her life. The timing of the origin of this feast is interesting. Pope Pius XII proclaimed it in 1950, shortly after the violence of the Second World War, where the atrocities committed caused terrible damage to human dignity. Defining this dogma was a way of reaffirming the dignity and value of human life, including the body.

We are also in a time of great crisis globally. We are experiencing as wildfires rage throughout the world and floods devastate other countries. We are grieving the loss of countless lives from the Covid-19 pandemic. Carmen Nanko-Fernandez, a professor of Hispanic theology and ministry, suggests that the Assumption “reminds us that ‘it is what it is’ is not our destiny. The Assumption is an affirmation of life lived in the embrace of God’s reign, of relationships honoured, of stubborn resistance to erasure.”

It gives us hope in a time of great despair. That Mary, who shared our human nature fully, was taken to be with God and that we will follow her. Our humanity is sacred. This is Mary’s feast, but it is our feast too.

It is a feast that affirms the hope we have in reality beyond the grief we experience in our current circumstances. We rejoice in that hope.

Loving God,

We thank you for the example of Mary, Help us to hold her Assumption as a gift of hope and promise. That as she is united with you. We will be too, As we seek to treat others and ourselves with the respect and dignity with which you treat us.


Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
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1 Comment
  • Mildred (Mitzi) Andersen
    Posted at 13:31h, 16 Aug

    This is reassuring, Annemarie. Thank you.

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