Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Ancient Chinese folklore abounds with legends of flying sages and immortals. The gravity-defying love of Jesus and Mary has a natural appeal for the Asian mind. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen found that he could connect with Chinese people via the Assumption. In his book about the Blessed Virgin Mary, The World’s First Love (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1952, pp. 136-137), Sheen wrote:
Love in its nature is an Ascension in Christ and an Assumption in Mary. So closely are Love and the Assumption related that a few years ago the writer, when instructing a Chinese lady, found that the one truth in Christianity which was easiest for her to believe was the Assumption. She personally knew a saintly soul who lived on a mat in the woods, whom thousands of people visited to receive her blessing. One day, according to the belief of all who knew the saint, she was “assumed” into heaven. The explanation the convert from Confucianism gave was: “Her love was so great that her body followed her soul.” One thing is certain: the Assumption is easy to understand if one loves God deeply, but it is hard to understand if one loves not.
Our Lady of China, featured above, first appeared in Donglu, China in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion. A militia of naïve martial artists, unacquainted with Western technology and weaponry, believed that their bodies were immune to bullets due to their secret kung fu techniques and spiritual exercises. Calling themselves the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists (I-ho-ch’uan or Yihequan), they set out to liberate their country from foreign influence using their acrobatic techniques, swords and a few rifles. In their eyes, the Christian missionaries and churches were destroying Chinese culture and converting family members away from their traditions. Chinese Christians were considered traitors.
It was like a showdown between Kung Fu Panda, Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, and Crane and the Eight Nation Alliance banded against them. The Empress Dowager Cixi also dispatched the Qing Imperial Army to assist the Boxers.
In Donglu, a weapon more powerful than rifles or cannons was deployed: prayer to Our Lady for her intercession. In response to the prayers of Father Wu, the pastor of the village, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the sky in radiant light, alarming the combatants. Shots fired at the apparition were futile. Another apparition believed to be St. Michael the Archangel then swooped down and chased the soldiers away. A village of up to 1000 Christians founded by the Vincentian Fathers was saved by the Heavenly Lady and St. Michael.
Mary’s Assumption outdreamed the dreams of the Boxers, Superman, Wonder Woman and all humanity by her physical immortality, divinization, and flight into heaven. Jesus and Mary are now truly impervious to bullets in their transfigured bodies, can fly through walls, do aerial 360s, and leap over trees and mountains faster than the speed of light.
Better than anti-gravity, Divine Love pulls the earth—space, time, matter, energy and mind—into the vortex of the whirling Trinity.
O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us!