Mary, assumed into heaven pray for us and for Mother India

My dear sisters, 

We have twin feasts on August 15th - the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Independence Day of our Mother land, India. The former refers to the freedom from the annihilation of the body and the latter, freedom from the destruction by the foreign bondages. Both the feasts refer to freedom; freedom from and freedom for - freedom from self interest, self glorification, self manifestation, self proclamation etc and freedom for God to act as and when he wills.  

The feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother is one of the dogmas of our faith. Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus 1st November  1950 declared, “We pronounce, declare, and define to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of  her earthy life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory (No.44). This article of faith reveals the truth that the whole of her being was redeemed and that her union and conformity with the Risen Lord was complete. Hence, death, the wage of sin, had no power over her; it was totally overcome. This is true of all those who belong to Christ and live a Christic life. Mary has been the first, because in her case, the relationship with God was never broken right from the inception of her life. What distinguishes Mary the most is a life which constantly looks towards heaven without forgetting her commitment in daily life. The manner in which she lived her earthly life shows us the pathways to real freedom.   

In one of his Angelus addresses, while speaking on freedom Pope Francis linked it with conscience. He said, “… Jesus wants us free, and this freedom – where is it found? It is to be found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian does not know how to talk with God, does not know how to listen to God, in his own conscience, then he is not free – he is not free. So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful.” The guidelines of our Holy Father are apt at this juncture when we reflect on freedom. The choice is ours - to be internally free or not to be.    

Dear sisters, now we turn towards India our Mother land which obtained freedom 68 years ago on 15th August. It reminds us of the sacrifice and heroism of many patriots who laid down their lives and some of them even shed their blood. It reminds us of the commitment with which we are called upon to serve our nation. It evokes in us a responsibility of preserving this freedom by a life freed from poverty, casteism, untouchability, corruption, human trafficking, communalism etc. 

As we know, there are various types of freedom. Political freedom means the freedom from foreign domination; it empowers a nation to form the government of its own people and to govern them independently. Freedom of religion means that an individual is free to practice, profess or propagate any religious rites according to his religion. Every country allows certain types of rights or freedom to its citizens. Accordingly, Indian Constitutions have given certain rights and freedom to Indian citizens. These are known as fundamental rights which cannot be denied to us. Some of these rights are freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, right to equality, right to justice etc. Dear sisters, as we celebrate the day of our freedom, we need to assert our rights as Indian citizens and fight on behalf of those who are pushed to the periphery. We need to be their voice and speak the language of a prophet. Let us remember that the status of a nation depends on the freedom enjoyed by every citizen especially by those who are on the periphery. In pursuing this ideal, we Bethany sisters need to be frontiers. Our former President late Abdul Kalam has opened our eyes to what we can achieve. He has taught us to be positive while looking forward. Shall we ignite our hearts with a fire to spread love and not hate, to bring peace and not sword? Let this be our endeavour. As we celebrate Independence of our Mother Land let us pray with our Indian brothers and sisters, Lord, lead us from the unreal to the real; from darkness to light, from death to immortality, Om Shanthi! May all our brothers and sisters enjoy Shalom - total well-being.

I wish you a happy feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother and the Independence Day of our Country.  

Invoking God’s blessings on all of you, 

Yours lovingly,  

(Sr Mariette BS)

Provincial Superior 

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