This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation, which conveniently for us falls on a Sunday this year. On this feast we recall that at the end of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s life she was taken up into heaven body and soul. The word “assumption” is based off a Latin word meaning, “the action of being taken up or received.” Mary was taken up by God and received into heaven body and soul.
Oddly, the word “assumption" through this Latin root then produces other meanings in our English language based on the common sense of “taking.” For instance, when a person makes an assumption about something or someone, we say they are “taking for granted or supposing.”
We all make lots of assumptions in life. We take lots for granted. For instance, I assume you all take for granted that you have an intact and fully formed mouth and lips. At least I do. I mention this, because we have our annual mission appeal this weekend, and our cause this year is the Foundation for Children in Need and part of their mission is helping poor children with cleft palate and cleft lip with free corrective surgery. How great it is we can take up this cause this year and lift up these children!
What else do we assume? What else do we take for granted? To “assume possession” (another usage of our word) of God’s many graces we shouldn’t assume them (take them for granted).
Or how about this for some fun, weird wordplay and food for thought? Also using the Latin root “sumere” (take up) are our words “presume” and “consume”. “Presume” literally means to “take up before” and “consume” literally means “to take up altogether”. There is a sin named “presumption” where we take God’s grace for granted, and especially when we intentionally sin knowing we can just go to confession later and be forgiven—we are “presuming” God’s grace. And our religious use of “consumption” makes me think of the Eucharist, which we consume, meaning to eat or drink. But some other definitions of consumption are “to devour—to enjoy avidly” and “to engross—to engage fully”. So, as we consume the Eucharist we should avidly enjoy it and be engrossed. But to do so, we shouldn’t assume it by taking it for granted, and least of all presume to approach unworthily if we have mortal sin and not confessed.
Sometimes I get annoyed by myself when I write these that I wish I would have held them back to use in my Sunday homily. Today, after writing this, it is the opposite. What a convoluted and terrible homily this would have made, so I’m glad I got my word-nerdiness out of my system. I presume you will greatly enjoy consuming this article but that is probably a false assumption. OK, enough.