Sunday, August 15, 2010

Archbishop Dolan on the Assumption

Here is Archbishop Dolan’s column for the feast of the Assumption. It was first printed in the August 12, 2010 issue of our archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York.

Emphases, in bold, and comments, in red, are mine.
Of Harvests, Earthly and Eternal

It’s harvest time! One of my most cherished times of the year...

The tomatoes, corn on the cob, cherries, peaches, watermelons, and cantaloupes are in from the farms on Long Island, the upper counties (i.e., the northern counties of the Archdiocese of New York—where I’m from!) and New Jersey. I can’t get enough of them. And even my physician, who’s hung up on my weight, can’t gripe, because all of these fruits and vegetables of the harvest are good for me!

This is the way the Creator intended His good earth to be used: to be cultivated tenderly by devoted hands, and to produce a bounty to feed His creatures. This is the purpose of His good earth.

Yes, it’s harvest time...

No wonder we now celebrate the touching feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this Sunday, August 15, right-smack-dab in the middle of the harvest.

For Mary is God’s harvest. She exemplifies what God has in store for all of us when we come to fruition.

Our Father created us for a garden, but we ruined His plan. The first Adam and Eve defiled the garden, and God’s harvest had to be delayed.

The Second Adam—Jesus—and the new Eve—His mother, Mary—ushered in a return to the garden and the first fruits of a lavish harvest.

Mary is the fruit of God’s harvest. She is the “produce,” a hint, a promise, of what the Divine Gardener intends for us all. (To a different extent, consecrated virgins—as well as consecrated celibates in general—are also living as “first fruits.” In choosing to renounce the joys of human marriage in order to love God with “an undivided heart,” consecrated virgins start living NOW the same kind of life which all the faithful will have in heaven.)

Because, when her earthly life was ended, God brought her both body and soul to be with Him forever in heaven. She’s already “ripe and picked.” That’s what we call her Assumption.

We’ll have to wait for a while. Yes, when our earthly journey is over, we hope—through God’s mercy and the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus—our immortal souls will be united with the Lord for all eternity.

But it’s still not the final harvest, because God wants us, soul and body, to live with Him forever in heaven, like Our Lady.

That eternal harvest will come at the end of time.

Lest we get discouraged, lest we get tired of waiting on the vine to be picked by the Lord, lest we get fatigued battling the weeds, birds and rabbits, God reminds us what He has in store for us. As Mary, by her humble obedience and perfect discipleship, is a model of how we are now to live here in the garden, so is she an example of what we’ll be at the end of time: eternal happiness in heaven, body and soul with God.

The joys of that eternal harvest at the end of time will be infinitely more enjoyable than even those wonderful tomatoes, corn, cherries, peaches, watermelons and cantaloupes we savor in August.

A blessed Feast of the Assumption! Enjoy this season of harvest, and keep your eyes on the final one, where Jesus and Mary, the first fruits, await us.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Seven New Novices for the Sisters of Life!

It’s always a joy to see religious communities flourish in your home diocese! Here is a photo of the newest novices for the Sisters of Life, sent to me by Archdiocesan Vocation Director Fr. Luke Sweeney.

(The new novices, left to right, are: Sr. Virginia Joy; Sr. Annunciata Maria; Sr. Cecilia Rose; Sr. Avila Marie; Sr. Mariana Benedicta; Sr. Mary Sophia; and Sr. Faustina Maria Pia.)

The Sisters of Life are an apostolic congregation of women religious founded in the Archdiocese of New York in 1991 by the late archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor. Through prayer and various apostolic works, the Sisters of Life support women in crisis pregnancies and strive to foster a culture where human life is respected and reverenced.

Please remember these new novices in your prayers!