On August 15 the Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Together with St Paul, our founder Joseph De Piro chose Mary Assumed into Heaven as the patroness of our Missionary Society. The Assumption may be described as the Church’s celebration of the resurrection of the Virgin Mary. As such, she is the eschatological image and the first flowering of the Church which sees and admires in her that which it wholly desires and hopes to be, finding in Mary a sign of sure hope and solace. It is important that we see the Assumption of Mary as the culmination of a historic life lived in full obedience and receptivity to the Father. Thus the Assumption speaks of our ultimate destiny which begins in our life of faith as we live it today, in the here and now. What follows is an excerpt from ‘Found among Sinner’ by Fr Martin Cilia mssp (54-55), that articulates our Founder’s spirituality in relation to our Lady.
De Piro chose Mary as the model of the one who listened to the voice of God. We cannot but notice his Christo-centric Mariology. Mary was for him a model of discipleship. He reflects on the gospel passage when a woman praised Mary with the words: “Blessed is she who begot you and who suckled you” and on Jesus’ response “Blessed are those who listen to the word of God and keep it.” About Mary’s faith De Piro writes:
She saw her son in the cattle shed of Bethlehem and believed He was the creator of the world. She saw Him fleeing Herod, and yet she believed He was the King of kings. She saw Him being born and she believed He was eternal. She saw His poverty and believed He was omnipotent. She noticed that He did not talk and believed He was infinite Wisdom. She heard Him cry and believed He was the joy of Heaven…Mary saw Him crucified, and at the same time she believed He was God. And… after the Ascension, it was Mary who, as a torch, kept alive the faith in the heart of the Apostles.
De Piro was grateful for the gift of faith freely given by God. “We must be careful that we never fail to give thanks to God for the gift of faith that He granted to give us without any merit on our part, and we should try to keep in us the fervent wish to attract the unbelievers and make them come and share with us this great gift.” Every Marian title is nothing but a starting point of a deeper grasp of the whole mystery of the God. Choosing for our Society the Assumption, he clearly shows where our hearts should desire to be. He highlights the destination and continues to stress the holistic approach as she was assumed body and soul into the heavens. Gratitude permeated his life and was the starting point of his missionary zeal: “Jesus, help me to spend the rest of my days thanking you.” Listening to the voice of God, having faith and doing God’s will, were pure gifts of the Spirit:
Without God’s grace all that we have said now would be only a dream, an illusion. Man’s strength and energy, if they are not controlled by faith and given direction by grace, cease to be a protective force, but become an oppressive tyranny.