Into the Granary of Heaven

I learned at the Catholic Culture website that it was once a German custom to bless herbs on this day because Mary is the shoot springing from the side of Jesse, as prefigured in Isaiah.

What's got me slackjawed is the fact that I was visiting my Godfamily's house, where they've just installed a space-age herb garden, the kind that grow hydroponically, like on the space station, only on your kitchen counter. Of course, we couldn't have known that herbs were associated with the Solemnity of the Assumption-- but what a God-incidence!It's novel to think of Mary as precious fruit, fragrant herb, an abundant harvest. She personifies fertility, and not like the Venus of Willendorf; no, Mary was espoused to and gave birth to Life Himself. She's exponentially more fertile than anything ever conceived, and she continues to generate the Body of Christ, the holy ones who call her Mother. Right from Heaven, this very day, she brings into fruitfulness the Vineyard of the Lord.

With this in mind, it's hard not to think of her as present there, bodily, with the Three Persons who were her All in All.

I recall the altar of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy. Above the altar sits the tabernacle; above that, the ikon of Divine Mercy; and above that, the statue of Mary Immaculate. Above the statue glows this mural featuring God the Father with Jesus at His right; and above them you will find depicted the Holy Spirit as dove, the rays from whose beak shine down on Mary, from whom issues forth Jesus, whose rays of Divine Mercy coat the tabernacle from which we receive the work of human hands rendered Bread of Life.

This three-dimensional catechism teaches the kernel of truth about today's solemn memorial: Mary, our Blessed Virgin Mother, now dwells with God entirely because she entirely united herself to God. We have the opportunity, through the Blessed Sacrament, to do likewise.

I'm a big fan of the other suggestion for how to celebrate this Solemnity: reflect on the dignity of your person, this body for the purity of which you will be held responsible. Reflect on the dignity of women, whose wombs are precious tabernacles. My inbox buzzed today with Obama's pro-choice platform and the upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign.

Praying and voting for an end to abortion only open the list of ways we can do more to magnify the Lord. What virtue are you putting into practice today? Do you patronize places that sell graphic magazines? Do you speak to other people in a manner that conveys disrespect? Do you strive to live every moment in readiness for Jesus, lamps lit and sandals fastened and garment spotless?

If, like me, you are growing increasingly aware of all that stands between you and sanctity, let this day mark a turning point. Let Mary's Assumption serve as a reminder that you and I have so much to offer God by simply opening up to Him in prayer. So little in return for so much. Welcome the pruning shears, leave the weeding to God, and spend time in His Presence.

We do resemble very much an herb garden: a snip here, good nutrients, and rays of Sonshine result in fragrant additions to any Banquet, especially of the celestial variety. "Eat of my fruit," says Mary. It's her only mission in life, to undo what Eve has done. Now thank we all our God!

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