By Susan Ciancio
In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote Munificentissimus Deus—an apostolic constitution that defined the dogma of the Assumption of Mary.
The Holy Father stated: “By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Our Catholic faith teaches that, when Mary died, she was assumed—or taken—body and soul into heaven. On August 15, we celebrate this holy day. We remember the woman conceived without sin who said “yes” to God, who carried Christ in her body for nine months, who cared for and nurtured Him as He grew, who searched frantically for Him when He was lost, and who wept at the foot of the cross.
Those in other denominations don’t always understand Catholics’ devotion to our Blessed Mother. Some even go so far as to say we worship her. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We venerate Mary because she is the mother of Christ. We honor her because of the role she played in our salvation history. When Christ hung dying on the cross, He gave Mary not only to the Apostle John, but to all of us. She is our spiritual mother, and she looks after us. Because she loves us even more perfectly than our earthly mothers do, we pray for her intercession. We ask her to take our worries, our concerns, and our desires to her Son on our behalf.
So, as we prepare to celebrate the Assumption this Monday, let’s take some time—alone or as a family—to renew our devotion to Mary. Here are six ways to help us do this:
1. Pray the Rosary (or a decade).
The Rosary helps us reflect on the lives of the Holy Family. The 20 different mysteries give us a glimpse into what life was like for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. By taking the time to think about their lives, we then learn how to model our own lives after them. We can also see that, in many ways, they are a lot like us. They had trials and tribulations, they had joys, and they had loving moments. Reflecting on their lives brings us closer to them.
2. Memorize and pray the Memorare. Teach it to your children.
This special prayer asks for Mary’s intercession during times when we need her protection or her help. Pray this fervently and with faith knowing our mother will never forsake you. Help your children learn that they can go to Mary with any problems or concerns.
Mary appeared to three children in a small town outside of Fatima, Portugal. For several months, Mary appeared on the 13th of each month and talked to the children, telling them what they must do in order to save their souls and the souls of others. She stressed the importance of praying the Rosary. Talk with your children about miracles and the importance of faith.
4. Teach your children about Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Because Our Lady appeared as a pregnant woman, we often invoke her as we pray for mothers and their preborn babies. This Culture of Life Studies Program lesson teaches children the story of Juan Diego and his tilma and will help your children understand Mary’s integral role as we ask for her intercession when we pray for preborn babies.
5. Read about the miracle at Lourdes.
St. Bernadette was just a young girl when Mary appeared to her asking her to make sacrifices and pray for sinners. When Bernadette followed Mary’s instructions to scrape the earth near the grotto where she appeared, a spring came forth—one that still provides 27,000 gallons of water each day and that has been responsible for dozens of healings.
6. Teach your children about Mary’s “yes” to God.
This beautiful CLSP lesson on Mary will help your children understand her fiat and the important roll she played in our salvation history. It also has a wonderful craft that your kids will love!
Now is the perfect time to talk with your children about the importance of Mary as our spiritual mother and of relying on her throughout their lives. Just like our earthly mother, Mary loves us unconditionally. She wants what’s best for us. As her adoptive children, we must honor her with our prayers, our love, and our devotion.