BY JAMES HUG SJ | August 15, 2013
As we celebrate this feast, I have 3 reflections to share.
First, in this age of evolutionary awareness of cosmic space and time, of the postulated existence of several dimensions of reality beyond space and time, and of matter both unimaginably immense and infinitesimal, the traditional Catholic belief in the assumption of Mary body and spirit into heaven brings us face to face with incredible Mystery. Beyond not being able to imagine what the experience was/is like or even what “heaven” might mean in this cosmic context, it does suggest God’s embrace of all creation, the sacredness of all dimensions of reality. It invites a sense of cosmic awe.
Second, through a small sharing group at a recent retreat, I was reminded of the many, many small and large life incidents and dramas that have gone into shaping who any person is at any time. The feast of the Assumption celebrates Mary for those events in her own life and her role in all the experiences that helped make Jesus the person he was/is. It reminds us to look at each person, including ourselves, with reverence for the daily events, dramas, and decisions that have brought us to this moment. Each one of us is a walking sacred history for those who have eyes to see.
Finally, Mary’s prayer when she meets her cousin Elizabeth, what we call the Magnificat, presents us with a revolutionary vision still yearning to be born, a world where mercy is widespread, the proud and mighty are scattered, the lowly are lifted up and the hungry filled, while the rich are sent away empty. It is a vision in radical confrontation with the everyday values of our culture. It calls for a revolution to which the events, dramas and decisions of our lives to this point have prepared us to make a unique contribution. It is calling us into action….
We too are each part of the cosmic Mystery.
James E. Hug, S.J., has a long history working in social ethics and social justice advocacy in the Catholic community. He served 24 years as the President of the Center of Concern, a Washington, DC based social justice institute rooted in Catholic social tradition, working for greater economic, social, and ecological justice globally. He holds a doctoral degree in Christian ethics from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in Christian spirituality from St. Louis University.
Fr. Hug’s research has focused on issues of faith and economic justice and he has lectured and directed workshops throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Currently he serves as sacramental minister for the Adrian Dominican Sisters and writes on issues of spirituality for social transformation in these difficult times. His blog, “Truth that does Justice,” can be found on the website for the Dominican Center: Spirituality for Mission, www.dominicancenter.org.
Past publications have included Catholic Social Teaching: Our Best Kept Secret, Social Revelation: Profound Challenge for Christian Spirituality, and Tracing the Spirit: Communities, Social Action, and Theological Reflection. Jim has also written chapters for Globalization and Catholic Social Thought: Present Crisis, Future Hope and The Pastoral Circle Revisited: A Critical Quest for Truth and Transformation.
Fr. Hug’s research has focused on issues of faith and economic justice and her has lectured and directed workshops throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. He was the editor of the Center of Concern’s “Catholic Social Teaching: Our Best Kept Secret, author of Social Revelation: Profound Challenge for Christian Spirituality,” and the editor of “Tracing the Spirit: Communities, Social Action, and Theological Reflection.” Jim has also written chapters for “Globalization and Catholic Social Thought: Present Crisis, Future Hope” and “The Pastoral Circle Revisited: A Critical Quest for Truth and Transformation.”