Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary – Living for Ever
As a result of the World War II (1939-1945) between 70 and 85 million people lost their lives. Pope Pius XII, seeing how cheaply human bodies had been treated during those years of war, declared in 1950 that Mary’s body was precious to God. “When the course of her earthly life was over she was assumed body and soul into heaven” is the official doctrine of this event. The purpose of the doctrines of the Church is to tell us who we are and to proclaim who we can be in Christ. Mary left this earthly life and entered into resurrected glory, body and soul, much as her son had before her. While this feast says something fundamental about Christ and especially his resurrection and ascension, it speaks to all humanity about human life and our destiny.
Paul says that “Jesus ascended that he might fill all things” – Ephesians 4:10. Jesus left this earth, and an earthly way of relating to it and everyone and everything in it, not to be with a distant God but to be one with his Father (who is present everywhere and to every atom and molecule of the universe). In his resurrection and ascension Jesus went from an ‘external’ way of being among us to an ‘internal’ way of being with us at the core of our existence. And he shared this new way of being first of all with his mother. Her assumption is a clear and first echo of his resurrection. She, the Immaculate One, was taken into his full and complete presence with his Father. – cf. John 10:30 and 16:16-33. That is our final goal and the destiny of all things.
To say that Mary was conceived immaculate is to say that her destiny and ours was preordained by the Creator. To say that she entered into resurrected glory, body and soul, much as her son before her, is to say that God’s design for Mary was for her to be given back to the Creator complete, virginal and intact – and that speaks to us about our lives and where we’re headed. To contemplate one aspect of Mary – like her Assumption – is to have an eye for all her other attributes as well, and for who God is. For example, the five joyful mysteries of the rosary that are embedded in St. Luke’s Gospel form the lenses through which we discover and contemplate her Immaculate Conception and Assumption that are not found in scripture. In the last analysis they reveal who God is and who we ourselves are and to where we are being drawn by the Father – John 6:44.
The mortal remains of Mary of Nazareth were never found nor are they an object of veneration like those of her contemporary, St. Peter. Mary became important to early Christians by virtue of her relation to Jesus. We have no record of her death, either archeologically or historically. Contrast this with the apostles about whose deaths we have many stories the historical accuracy of which are sometimes questioned. With the mother of Jesus, in contrast, we have a growing unchallenged conviction that because of her relationship to her Son and his resurrection, Mary passed through death in a way none of us will.
“All will be brought to life in Christ” – 1 Corinthians 15: 22
“I will put my spirit within you and you shall live” – Ezekiel 37: 6
Fr. QQ – 08/11/2021