Day of Prayer artwork

Celebrating Our Day of Prayer on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We celebrate our Day of Prayer each year on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church that falls on August 15. Some might wonder why this day was chosen.

I’d like to look at the day in light of the gospel reading we find in our liturgy.

A Gospel Lesson About Meeting Each Other as Equals

It might seem odd that the Gospel reading for the Mass of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the story from the Gospel of St. Luke of Mary meeting her older cousin Elizabeth. That meeting doesn’t seem to have anything to do with heaven. It’s the story of one relative meeting another. Yet in this story, heavenliness can be found in the heaviness of the women! Each is filled with something from heaven, Mary with the Savior, Jesus, and Elizabeth with John, his forerunner.

In the exchange, the women engage each other in a special way. They admire each other, not in a way that creates a distance between them, but in a way that brings them together. They embrace each other. They say to each other, “How is it that you are here? How is it that you came to me?” There are no power plays, no false pretenses, no jealousy and no hidden motives. Elizabeth is so touched that she reacts spiritually and bodily. The fruit that is in her womb leaps for joy. Mary’s reaction is a song — the Magnificat — about the favor God has shown here, about being small yet great, about praising God who has accepted her as His vehicle of salvation.

On our annual Day of Prayer for donors, we find a great lesson in this Gospel reading: this is the way we should encounter all people, especially the poor. Like Mary, we should share experiences with them. There should be no feelings of superiority, no power games and no focus on inequalities.

At Cross Catholic Outreach, we serve as equals alongside the poor around the world. We listen first to better understand both their needs and their dreams. As we meet those needs through the kindness of our donors, we remind the poor that they have great dignity in the sight of God. When this happens, the spirit in us and the spirit in them leap for joy.

The Gospel according to St. Luke, chapter 1, verses 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

 

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Fra Angelico, “The Visitation,” 1433-1434. Image license: Creative Commons, courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art.

Join Us for Our Day of Prayer

All of us need God in our lives. We want to pray for you, our friends, on our Day of Prayer. Please join us for this year’s day of prayer by submitting a prayer request.

On this special day of the Assumption, place your intentions, your fears, your hopes and your suffering in the hands of Our Mother. The Church teaches that Mary is our great intercessor, who never leaves us unaided.

As Saint Louis de Montfort writes, “She has but to appear in prayer before her Son and he at once welcomes her and grants her requests. He is always lovingly conquered by the prayers of the dear Mother who bore him and nourished him.”

We hope to join God in heaven someday, just as Mary did. Mary’s Assumption carries with it all our hopes for our own everlasting life. Until that day, we bring our cares and concerns to God in all humility. May you be blessed with all the grace and love the Father offers!

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.