If you go out of London along the Western Avenue from Ealing you will see a series of four grassy hills near the Target roundabout, made I believe of waste material from the rebuilding of Wembley stadium. From the top of them there are extensive views towards the Chiltern Hills one way and inner London the other, while across the main road you can see the old parish church of Northolt standing on its low hillock. It is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, like others in what were ancient villages on this side of London. The parish churches of Ealing itself, Hanwell, West Twyford, Perivale (which was also known as Greenford Parva) and Northolt, all once Catholic, still retain their dedication to Our Lady Saint Mary – Greenford Magna unusually has a church of the Holy Cross - and this reflects the way in which medieval England was noted for its devotion to Our Lady. There were many shrines to her throughout the land, so that if you could not afford the long journey to Norfolk to visit Our Lady of Walsingham, you could go instead to the shrine of Willesden.
In those former times, in largely rural and agricultural society, religion was rather more closely bound in with the seasons and rhythms of the natural world than it perhaps is today. The feast of the Assumption, for example, was known as Our Lady in Harvest, occurring as it does in the middle of August when people began to reap the ripe corn. Their lives and prosperity of course depended on a good harvest, but that is still true today – without corn we would have no bread.
To live we have to eat material food, but Scripture reminds us that we cannot live on bread alone. We need the word of God to sustain our whole being, because our ultimate destiny is not bound by the limits and conditions of the physical world: it lies beyond in what we call eternal life or the kingdom of God. The Assumption of Mary, her instantaneous resurrection, is the sign of what God desires for all people, that we do not die for ever but hope to be raised into the glory of the risen Lord.
A prayer in the Mass puts it like this: Through the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. No less than this is our human vocation: God became man so that we might become God.
Wishing you every blessing,