The readings for this coming Sunday are of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has precedence over the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The Collect for the Solemnity is, on the face of it, simple and straight forward. Catholics, especially, may well not think it expresses anything out of the ordinary.
Almighty ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray,
that, always attentive to the things that are above,
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The Collect has us profess faith in the action of God in assuming Mary into heaven, and intercede that we may share in the glory of Mary.
It is to be presumed that ‘heavenly glory’ and ‘her glory’ are one and the same – and are most truly the Glory of God. Glory is proper to God alone – as Mary sang in her Magnificat.
And yet the Collect almost seems to say that we want to share in the glory that belongs to Mary in and of herself. Some other Christians might hesitate, and wonder at the felicity of the phrase.
Yet, whatever Mary’s own particular virtue – and few would quibble about this – her glory is entirely gift, an instance of the salvation won for her by Christ. The same salvation as is won for us.
The difference – and it is significant – is that Mary from the moment of her conception received and responded fully to that salvation, and often, sadly we do not.
And so, for greater faithfulness, we pray to God…
~ Translation of the Collect: English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved..
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: (c) 2017, Allen Morris. The Dormition of Mary, Dormition Abbey, Jerusalem.