Fairest Daughter of the Father: On the Solemnity of the Assumption | Rev. Charles M. Mangan
The Solemnity of the Assumption, celebrated annually on August 15, presents a golden opportunity to reconsider the person of the Ever-Virgin Mary and her singular mission in the Church. We often contemplate the relationship between Mary and her Son; this reflection will focus on the relationship which Our Lady enjoys with the First Person of the Most Blessed Trinity.
Mary has been hailed as the "first-born" daughter of the Father. This reality is evident if one remembers that God--and in a specific way the Father--has created Mary, just as He has created us. She is "one of us" because she is fully human. We are children of the Almighty in a similar vein in which she is His daughter. As we rely on God for our very existence, so, too, does our Immaculate Mother.
What do the Father and His sinless daughter share? Venerable Pius IX (1846-1878), in his Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus (December 8, 1854) in which he once-and-for-all defined the truth of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception, wrote: "To her did the Father will to give His only-begotten Son--the Son Whom, equal to the Father and begotten by Him, the Father loves from His Heart--and to give this Son in such a way that He would be the one and the same common Son of God the Father and of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
The Father gave many overwhelming spiritual riches to Mary to strengthen her in her inspiring vocation as the Mother of His Son. Yet, He gave no greater gift than that of the Lord Jesus. Mary, in turn, imitated the Father in raising Jesus from before infancy to manhood. Jesus knew well the best of all gifts which His Mother faithfully imparted: the boundless love of His Beloved Father. Now, as the Son of Mary, Christ came to experience the love of His Mother which was patterned after that of His Father.
One may rightly assert that Jesus Christ is the link between the Father and Mary. We often claim that children receive much of their identity from their parents. Eye color, physical build and even disposition are often traced from the child back to its parents. Truly, the offspring rely on their father and mother for multiple and varied things. (And, of course, the Messiah willed to come forth from Mary and be dependent on her and Saint Joseph.) However, the Holy Family of Nazareth is a different case. Mary and her loving husband discovered their purpose in the Divine Child. In Jesus, they found their identity--unto everlasting life!