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Bishop John on Mary the Model of Discipleship

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated in parishes all across the Diocese on 15th August. Westminster Cathedral saw many people, both Londoners and the many Catholic visitors to the city, attend several Masses held that day. Throughout the day, many also made time to offer up prayers in the beautiful Lady Chapel.

Bishop John Sherrington, celebrating one of the Masses at the Cathedral on this day, spoke about God’s triumph over evil and oppression through new Birth and Transformation.

‘At the Annunciation, when Mary responds that she is the servant of the Lord, she becomes the new Eve. Mary rushes forth to visit Elizabeth who is also expecting and they embrace with the joy of two expectant mothers.’

He went on to say, ‘Mary stood at the foot of the Cross. She was present at the suffering of her Son, sharing in His suffering. She looks beyond the Cross to the triumph of His Resurrection. Mary is the new Eve who points us towards her Son, the new Adam, and the hope of salvation.

‘Mary is the witness to the perfecting of God’s grace in us, which uses and transforms our suffering to perfect our nature. It is through this perfecting grace that Mary is assumed body and soul to heaven.’

He reflected on the recent pilgrimage to Lourdes, the place where Mary promised Bernadette much sorrow and suffering in this life, which would be surpassed by the joys of the next life. In this way, she pointed towards the hope of heaven.

‘Mary is the model of our discipleship. She invites us too to be present with those who suffer and to be their hope and to point them towards her Son,’ he continued. ‘Today as we see so much suffering and oppression, let us follow Mary’s example of being a faithful presence at the Cross and looking towards heaven.

‘Let us ask Mary, our Mother, to pray for us, for peace in Iraq, Syria, for the people of Gaza and Israel, and for all those in western Africa who suffer. Let us ask for the intercession of the new Eve, who points us to the new Adam, her Son Jesus Christ.’

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