As I’ve grown into my vocation through its seasons of engagement, marriage, and motherhood, wearing these roles lightly at first, like a new sweater, until they become familiar--if not at all times comfortable--Our Lady has frequently been at the center of my prayer life. As daughter, spouse, and mother, she’s our ideal of earthly perfection.
And make no mistake; Mary’s perfection, her identity on the whole, is an inspiration to contemplate. Yet often, I find myself wondering what individual personality traits and quirks of character lay beneath the pious images and titles. I wonder what her daily life was like in Nazareth: What were Our Lady's hobbies? Were Mary and Joseph ever bothered by each other, and did they simply ignore bad habits or correct them with perfect charity in their sanctity? What sweet rituals and traditions did the Holy Family have? Did Jesus have tantrums as a toddler?
I think the reason so many questions about Our Lady’s unique heart, particularly on this day of her Assumption into heaven, arise in my own is that on some level I want to identify ever more with her in our shared roles as wives and mothers. While I’m more than aware how short I fall of Mary’s flawless obedience and purity of intention, beholding her as an ideal stands as a constant reminder to me of what I’ve promised in my wedding vows. She is a tangible, human example, an embodied woman whose body was received into the heavenly banquet on this day. What joy must have resounded through the heavens in her reunion, for all eternity, with her beloved son and husband.
Throughout engagement, and on through my days navigating newlywed life and new parenthood, I’ve grown so aware of how easy it is to believe the enemy’s lies that I’m not good enough; not as a bride, not as a wife, not as a mother. I say this to you as much as I say it to myself:
Look to Our Lady as a stronghold of truth; the truth of who you are and who you were created to be.
In her Yes to bearing the Son of God, Mary redeems each of us, and perhaps redeems us as women in a particular way. Eve’s giving in to the first lie--the possibility that God might not be enough to satisfy, that we ourselves might not be enough for him--is turned on its head in Our Lady’s humble fiat, the freely given surrender of her will out of complete trust in the Father. She desires only what is of God, who is truth himself.
What fruits, then, can you gain from this joyful feast, specifically in your identity as a bride? Again, for me, Mary’s bodiliness comes to mind. Her body and soul were seamlessly integrated, without the shadow of sin, in such a way that she is the total embodiment of beauty, of obedience, of faith.
Pray about ways you might put yourself, body and soul, at the service of love, in a way that befits your current state (engaged, married, or as a mother): through physical affection for your fiancée, husband, or children, offering chronic or temporary pain or health issues for the intentions of your beloved or your wedding guests, through embracing late-night wake-ups with an infant. Know and believe that you are enough. When it gets hard to believe, fix your eyes on our heavenly mother, our sister. You are a gift. From me to you, Happy Feast Day.