We have reached the climax of the summer. After the spring rains, a few thunderstorms, and despite the drought, our roses are in full bloom. They have reached their fullness. In a manner of speaking, creation has reached its final and most beautiful expression. This is why a summer vacation is perfect right now! We are given a glimpse, through the lens of our Christian faith, of heaven on earth - a hint of paradise! If only we could press the pause button!
Is this not the story and cycle of our own lives too. After the enjoyment of summer, vacation time and the holidays, there is a certain dread that soon it will wind down and back to work, back to school, back into the daily grind. And then, we have to plough through the rest of the year, sacrificing our time and efforts, enduring darker mornings and longer nights, so that we can reach summertime again, once more into the future. If only we could press the pause button!
As important as pictures and photos as reminders of the last days of summer are, God has given us a lasting image of His creation that will never fade. It is a woman, clothed in the sun. She is not called Mother Earth, nor Mother Nature. She has a name - Mother Mary. Of all of God's creation, she is the most perfect rose in God’s garden. A rose that is tender, beautiful, exact. Her stem is strong, her roots are deep, her leaves are crisp, her blossom is perfect, her fragrance is wonderful. This mystical rose radiates with the perfect grace of God. Mary is the Golden Rose that will never wilt, collapse, decay or experience the death of winter, for her immaculate body is full of grace.
This is why, on behalf of all humanity, she alone could respond perfectly to the gift of salvation offered by her eternal Son and Savior of the world. Her “yes” to the salvation of “all creation” resonated perfectly through every fiber of her body – that body perfectly in harmony with her soul is captured in the Gospel we have heard today. In her “Magnificat”, her song, Mary’s soul sings in joy through her body which is full of the breath of God.
We look to her to show us how to "get it together", and how to "keep it together", body and soul. When we give our bodies too much attention, we risk becoming empty castles that look strong and secure on the outside, but without an inner life.
When we give our minds too much stimulation, we easily become addicted to fantasies, dreams and make-believe.
When we give our emotions and appetites too much attention, we easily become needy, frustrated, never content. Even when we even give our souls too much attention, we can easily become detached from the goodness and the gifts that God gives us in the ordinary events of everyday life.
Our bodies and our souls were never meant to be separated, kept secret from each other. When our body and actions are separated from our soul and prayers, or vice versa - then we will surely die, not once, but many times. This is why Mary could never experience death as we do. Her body and soul were always in harmony.
So let us pray that our physical movements, our public expressions, our secret thoughts, our choices and all our actions will become, with God’s grace, more and more in harmony with Mary's example of Christian discipleship so that the final resting place for our bodies will not be the grave, but in a new Heaven and new earth promised by God.
May this Holy Mass, where we are fed with the Eternal Body and Blood of Christ shape us more and more, body and soul, into the image and likeness of God’s heaven on earth, so to live with Him forever in a garden of paradise which will be real and lasting. And that is our prayer. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, a world without end. Amen.