Monday, 18 December 2017

Time to enjoy the fruits of our labour

MIDWAY through August, we have left summer behind and are seasonally autumnal.

MIDWAY through August, we have left summer behind and are seasonally autumnal.

Days are shortening, although there is still sufficient length of daylight and natural warmth to enjoy.

Nowadays, with produce available all year round, the fruitfulness of the time is less a matter of rejoicing than it was in times past.

Nevertheless, harvesting the crops is still the major concern in the countryside.

The age-old task of reaping and enjoying the fruits of what was sown and nurtured in the earlier part of the year continues to affect the lives of a great many of us.

It is therefore a time to be grateful as well as to enjoy the rewards of our labours.

There can be a sense of achievement and enjoyment of the results of toil and effort of previous months.

Sometimes the season has been seen as symbolic of the life’s journey, from early cultivation and growth to fruition and, hopefully, final reward.

Centuries ago, in the Mediterranean and European world, that sense of the completion of a cycle of life and its ultimate reward evoked a spiritual response which led Christians to devise a festival to celebrate this progression through one special life.

It was as though the unique manner of her departure from this world signified the fruitful ripening of the virtues sown at her conception and nurtured by the grace of God throughout her life. The Virgin Mary’s death was seen not as a prelude to bodily decay but as a logical ascent into a higher form of existence consequent upon her singular role as Mother of the Lord and her fidelity in every circumstance.

In other words, she followed exactly where her Son, Jesus, had gone before.

For diverse communities of Christians, Mary merited the reward of an immediate bodily entrance into heaven.

The passing of the centuries has not by any means diminished the number of those who still honour her unique privilege.

Millions from Vancouver to Vladivostok celebrated what is commonly called the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary yesterday (Thursday).

What they were celebrating is one person’s achievement of what they believe awaits all the faithful.

That it happened first to Mary signifies what is in store for countless numbers of others whose earthly toil, trust and testimony reposes in reaping what one sows of good deeds and faithfulness through life.

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