(For the audio version of this blog, please visit: http://brothersinchristcmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Mass-Blog-for-the-Solemnity-of-theAssumption-2021.mp3)
What do Mary’s Assumption and the Book of Job have in common?
The Evil One’s jealousy of innocence is apparent in both accounts. The Book of Job has been described as “an exquisite dramatic treatment of the problem of the suffering of the innocent.” But while Job spends more than 30 chapters maintaining and defending his innocence before God (trying desperately not to be dragged over to the dark side in the process), in Mary’s case innocence is her very nature. Conceived without sin, she (and her offspring) could be nothing else. The eradication of that innocence is Satan’s greatest desire, but the inability to do so is Satan’s curse, as the Solemnity of the Assumption’s first reading from the Book of Revelation indicates (RV 12:3-6).
Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.
Humanity’s curse (the unrequited desire to see and be with God) seems personified in Job. In his inquisition of Job, God both rebukes and comforts him by letting him imagine himself in God’s place during earth’s creation. Job sees the magnificence of God’s mightiest creatures–which take joy in their God-given natures and never fear their mortality, as man does. They just ARE what God made them to be—as Mary was created to be innocent so she could conceive and deliver humanity’s savior.
If Job had had Mary as a role model, his Book might have been a lot shorter. But the Book of Job exists to help mankind come to grips with the nature of suffering as a means of attaining the gift God offers in place of the innocence mankind spurned: Wisdom.
The last chapter of Job sees him finally attaining that gift, and with it, long life and generations of offspring. Human progeny are perpetual opportunities for our hard-won wisdom to continue living. Mary’s progeny is Satan’s curse, because her legacy keeps humanity out of Satan’s reach—despite Adam’s fall into death. As Paul tells the Corinthians in Sunday’s second reading (1 Cor 15:20-27),
as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life … he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
Through her natural innocence, Mary drew strength and comfort from accepting God’s role for her and knowing that God not only prepared a place for her, but for humanity. That knowledge resulted in one of Christianity’s most beautiful prayers: The Magnificat: Mary’s Hymn of Praise, which Luke’s gospel bestows on us (Lk 1:39-56):
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me … He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Let’s continue driving Satan nuts by nurturing in ourselves the wisdom made possible by the Holy Family’s native innocence.