Fasting and Prayer are part and parcel of the Catholic life. In Syro-Malabar spirituality, we can find five periods of fasts in their liturgical calendar. Such as 50 days (Great Fast), 25 days (Advent), 15 days (Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady), 8 days (Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady) and 3 days (Rogation of the Ninevites).  As we have entered into the 15 days of fasting, it would be better to know its significance in the Catholic life.

The Assumption of Mother Mary, help us to “meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others.” (No. 42 Munificentissimus Deus – Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII, defining the Dogma of the Assumption).  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition (falling asleep) you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.” (No. 966).

The remarkable role of St. Thomas, in telling the world about the Assumption of the Mother Mary, is remembered and given more importance for a spiritual preparation for the Feast of the Assumption of the Lady by the St. Thomas Christians and the majority of Eastern Churches. St. John Damascene (d. 749) records an interesting story concerning the Assumption: “St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.” (This quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia was found on various sources in the internet).  In another tradition it is said that, the disciples were found the Cincture of the Virgin Mary and white flowers in the tomb.  Today we have a beautiful Church, Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, built on the tomb of the Virgin Mary.

The Assumption of Mother Mary invites us to take up the responsibility of leading a virtuous life to transform oneself, which will help to transform the world. It is true that to lead a good life, we may have to confront challenges in life.  These challenges invite us to abstain from certain food items, habits, or attitudes and to grow spiritually.  These challenges and sufferings are the stepping stones to the future glory; life after death. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).



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