August 12, 2012
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Why do things happen the way they do? Was I predestined to be here in this time and place? Is there such a thing as “predestination”? Predestination of people and events is a profound mystery of our faith.
We believe God sees and knows all, and to the extent that we share in his life we begin to increase our knowledge, even fore-knowledge, but never reach God’s perfect knowledge. Only God knows all the options and tendencies of people’s choices.
Predestination is caught up in cause and effect, the nature of God’s creation and his plan of salvation. For example, If I eat well and exercise, I will be healthier than if I do not. If I pray, fast, give alms to the poor and study the Catholic Christian faith I will grow spiritually.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, no one is predestined to hell, but it is up to us to choose to follow Jesus into heaven. Only one human person always chose to say “Yes” to God perfectly.
The greatest human person and predestined event is the Blessed Virgin Mary and her assumption body and soul into heaven. God called Mary to share everything with her divine Son, who chose her to be his Mother. He did this so that we could share in God’s divine life of grace and salvific service to mankind by uniting ourselves to Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, as Mary did by saying “Yes” to God’s will.
We therefore celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary, August 15, by recalling how Mary’s predestination is the destination of all who follow the faith of her divine Son, Jesus Christ in his Church.
Although Mary’s Assumption was held by early Christians, it was not until November 1, 1950 that Pope Pius XII defined this doctrine as a dogma which must be held by every Catholic as a central and thus pivotal doctrine of divine faith. We believe this dogma because God has revealed it for the purpose of having us reflect on the destiny to which God calls each person. Our souls and our bodies are created to be temples of the Holy Spirit, just as Mary’s still is and perfectly so in heaven.
From the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII we read: “In their homilies and sermons on this feast the fathers [of the Church, those early Catholic Christian Bishops] and great doctors spoke of the assumption of the Mother of God as something already familiar and accepted by the faithful… Scripture portrays the loving Mother of God, …as most intimately united with her divine Son, and always sharing in this destiny…Hence, the august Mother of God, mysteriously united from all eternity with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a virgin inviolate in her divine motherhood, the whole hearted companion of the divine Redeemer who won complete victory over sin and its consequences, gained at last the supreme crown of her privileges – to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages.”
Praise God we have such a wonderful Savior in Jesus and a glorious Mother to intercede to him for us! Let us choose to follow Christ and his Queen Mother into the eternal destiny of heaven.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe