Rev. Anthony Giamello
Pastor, St. John the Apostle/St. Bernadette
The Taj Mahal has been described as a “love song in marble.” Completed in 1645, the magnificent marble mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan, India’s Mogul emperor, in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Her maiden name was Princess Arjumand. Shah Jahan loved her deeply, calling her his “Taj Mahal,” meaning “The Pearl of the Palace.” Princess Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to their fourteenth child and the emperor was inconsolable. So, he summoned a great architect from Persia to build the Taj Mahal, telling him that it must be “the one perfect memorial in the world.”
Seventeen years were needed to build this enchanting edifice of gleaming white marble embroidered with flashing jewels. It is an enduring monument to love that still inspires tourists, artists and writers from all over the world. This beautiful love story gives us some idea of how much God must have loved Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Feast of her Assumption into Heaven (celebrated August 15th) is proof of this. By raising her from the dead and taking her into Heaven – body and soul – God demonstrated His undying love for Mary. Like Shah Jahan, God could not bear the death of Mary, conceived without original sin. “Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with you”(Lk 1:25).
However, God could do what no Indian emperor could – raise Mary from the dead and restore her to life even more beautiful than before. Moreover, God didn’t have to build a Taj Mahal to memorialize Mary. Her glorified body is itself a magnificent temple of the Holy Spirit. May all generations call her “blessed”(Lk1:48).
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