In today’s second reading we hear that the “fullness of time” has already come – God has sent his Son and we have entered into a new relation with our Creator. The Creator of Heaven and Earth, of men and angels, of the forests and the lakes. We now have the incredible privilege of calling God “Abba, Father”. This close, intimate relationship is not only a privilege, but a new identity for us, not only His creatures, but now His children.
To understand what this means for us, we have been given the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who as we hear in the Gospel, at the dawn of this “fullness of time” herself undergoes a transformation of spectacular magnitude.
A young girl, from a small village is greeted by an archangel who announces to her that she will bear a son, who in the succession of the line of King David will rule a kingdom and His reign will have no end. She, in one word – fiat, let it be – is transformed from a lowly maiden to the Mother of the future King. One moment that changes all eternity. As the first reading tells us, it is in this time that we live – the time of the great light that has shown in the darkness. This light that transformed Mary and promises to transform us as well.
We live in this spectacular time – the fullness of time – in which one moment has changed our eternal future. How important this moment; how important this time. It is holy. And so the Church commemorates the sanctification of this time: we commemorate and celebrate time in a special way with feasts throughout the year, the octaves of holy days, we sanctify the week in our Sunday celebrations, we sanctify the day by praying our prayers in the morning and the evening and at midday. In a special way we sanctify the day, with the prayer of the rosary – meditating on the great mysteries of salvation throughout the day and as today throughout the night as well.
The mysteries of the rosary which begin with the meditation of the Annunciation, the account of which we have just heard in the Gospel and conclude with the meditation of the two mysteries of the Octave that we finish celebrating today – from the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her crowning as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her Queenship which entails all creation, all people and yes, here in Braslau – Queen of the Lakes.
What does this queenship mean to us? It means that the intimacy that allowed us to turn to God as Abba, Father, now grants us a mother who guides us and intercedes for us, so that we may follow her path of faith, trust and fidelity until we too share her joy together in Heaven with her Son. It means that we must entrust to her our cares and desires, to the one to whom God has entrusted us. She is both a model to be imitated and a mother who has the wisdom and power to lead us in the transformation to true happiness.
So what does she teach us? The Mother of God and our Mother brings us together as one family, first through our parishes in a diocese under the care of our bishop and in the same moment as one family in the universal Church, under the guidance of the Holy Father. She continues to show the way to the miraculous Christ, who changes water to wine, bread into a Eucharistic feast, Mary from a lowly virgin to an eternal Queen and us, from his lowly creatures, to His sons and daughters and eventually into the light of the world – collaborators in his work of salvation. As she did in Cana, also today she instructs us – “Do whatever He tells you.”
So that we do not become lost on the way, in various Marian apparitions throughout history, she continues to teach us the fundamentals of the way of redemption. She invites us to pray, pray, pray. To listen to God’s voice speaking to us in the Word – to read the Bible and meditate on it each day. To put it into practice in our daily lives – forgiving our neighbors, not only in words, but through our actions. To find peace by reconciling ourselves with God, by making a well-prepared and sincere sacramental confession. To come here to God’s family table, to be fed and nourished with the daily bread for the journey that not only strengthens us for the challenges that each day brings, but transforms us so that we become the light that shines in the darkness.
Let us commit today, here at the Shrine of Mary the Queen, Queen of the Lakes, but even more importantly Our Queen and Our Mother, to entrust our lives and our families to her guidance and intercession. So that we can follow her example and follow her Son. Let us consecrate the hours of each day in meditating the mysteries of the rosary, so that that prayer and her intercession transform us into her light for all nations to see.
Archbishop Gintaras GRUŠAS
Braslau, Belarus, 2015-08-22