Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sleeping in God

On the Feast of the Assumption, Pope Benedict XVI once again spoke about a favorite theme in his preachings, and which is the center of his considerations in Jesus of Nazareth:

Christ's life and thus a Christian's life is a life of prayer, communion with God, and that is also the life of Mary, and all the great things that happen to Christ, to Mary, and therefore to a Christian depend on this intimate communion with God.

All personal privileges and all evangelizing effectiveness lie in prayer.

To stress this in connection with the Assumption, the Pope pointed out "the last reference in the Bible to the earthly life of Mary."

He said that this is found "at the beginning of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which presents Mary as recollected in prayer with the disciples in the Cenacle, awaiting the Holy Spirit."

"Since then," the Pope says, "there is a double tradition, from Jerusalem to Ephesus, which attests to her "dormition" or "sleep." Or as the Oriental writers put it: her sleep in God. It was this event that preceded her movement from earth to heaven."

That's worth repeating: Sleeping in God preceded Mary's move to heaven.

Benedict does the same in Jesus of Nazareth and in his other less known work, The Pierced One. In both books, he stressed that the great events in the life of Jesus, those which had a powerful multiplier effect, were preceded by prayer: Jesus' Baptism when he is praised as the beloved Son and given a mission; the choice of the apostles, the building of his Church; his great miracles, whereby he showed his divine largesse; his Transfiguration, through which he strengthened the apostles by showing his divine light; the institution of the Eucharist, the sacrament which brings about love, charity, the heart of holiness; his Crucifixion and Death, our redemption.

Mary, our Queen, was assumed to heaven, because she was a person of deep prayer.

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