Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady

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Assunção de Maria, por Neri di Bicci - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa - Foto: Gustavo Kralj

 

Today Holy Church invites us to remember the figure of Mary on this, the Feast day of Her Assumption into Heaven, that we might be filled with hope, since we, too, have been created with a view to the Resurrection.

Newsroom (15/08/2021 17:20,  Gaudium Press) Mary Most Holy – the Ark of the New Covenant, Mother of God and our Mother – on this day when She was raised gloriously to Heaven in body and soul, anticipated the final victory foreseen in the curse of the serpent: “She [the woman] will crush your head” (Gen 3:15).

A triumphant victory that will be complete in the resurrection of the dead, at the end of time, when evil will be definitively defeated in the Universal Judgement and the Son of God will pronounce the final sentence: “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).

In fact, in the passing of Mary Most Holy from this world to eternity, we are given a glimpse of our own fate at the Last Judgement, providing we die in a state of grace.

In the final analysis, the Resurrection certifies the divine omnipotence of God. By the mere remembrance that we shall die, be buried, and wait to be gloriously reconstituted to the point of acquiring a spiritual body, we anticipate that moment of extraordinary beauty in which we shall triumph, like Our Lady on the day of the Assumption.

Was Mary subject to death?

Catholic doctrine teaches that charity is a virtue that is rooted in the will. When it is very strong, the one who loves is encouraged to unite himself to the one who is loved. Every Christian, on the Day of Judgment, must present an account of his progress in charity; it is indispensable for entering Heaven.

There was someone who departed from this life not with love, but for love: Our Lady. St. Albert the Great says that “the one to whom one gives the most is most obliged to love. The Blessed Virgin was given more than all creatures; therefore She was bound to love more than any other. And so She did”, concludes the saintly Doctor.

In fact, the last years of our Lady’s earthly existence were marked by peace and an intense union with the supernatural. She was visited daily by her Divine Son and Her most chaste spouse St. Joseph, both accompanied by many Angels.

With each new journey, with each new visit, the Virgin intensified Her love for Them, to the point where it was no longer possible to increase it, because Her Heart was completely flooded with love. And yet, just as a fire is never quenched, she burned with the desire to expand it still more.

Did Our Lady die?

Our Lord told His Mother when the hour had arrived for Her to leave this earth and go to the Kingdom of Heaven. He then asked Her whether She would rather depart without passing through death, or follow the way of all men, the one that He had taken.

If Jesus had chosen death for Himself, and Her virginal spouse had done the same, how could She choose another way? Without the least hesitation, She chose the most perfect imitation of her Divine Son: She chose the way of death!

Our Lord, pleased with Her attitude, told Her that Her will would be respected; but He determined that Her death should be without pain, for He would not allow Her to suffer more than She had already suffered in the course of Her life, especially during the Passion, which, endured with the utmost courage, earned Her the titles of Queen of Martyrs and Co-redemptrix of mankind.

Here is the wonder of a human creature who, from fullness to fullness, from perfection to perfection, had reached the extreme limit of all measures, until there was almost no difference between Her understanding of the universe and Her own vision of God. Could She have been lacking in anything?

In an ecstasy of love, She fell asleep in the Lord!

An ecstasy took Her to eternity and She fell asleep in the Lord, with Her Divine Son and St. Joseph at her bedside! A multitude of Angels sang and superabundant graces flowed forth.

The passage from the suffering state to the glorious one did not mean for Mary Immaculate a lacerating rupture in Her being, as happens to ordinary men. Since Her birth, She had a constant and intense relationship with the Angelic Spirits, and even more marked was Her relationship with Her Son, the Incarnate Word, which never ceased, even after the Ascension.

As the years passed, new universes of graces and gifts shone forth in Her soul, for Her knowledge and love of God, though they were always full, were subject to growth. At a certain moment, faith gave way to sight, and She ascended into Heaven filled with virtue and glory; in short, filled with the Most Holy Trinity.

Why the Assumption of Our Lady?

One reason for the appropriateness of this magnificent event is the restitution made to God for all the benefits bestowed on the human race.

Since the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity descended from Heaven to become incarnate, bringing the humanized divinity into the world, it would be just that a human person should make a harmoniously opposite offering and bring to Heaven the best of holiness, the most beautiful, excellent and extraordinary thing that could exist on Earth: divinized humanity. Such a mission was reserved for Mary.

On the other hand, She was the tabernacle of the Son of God during the nine months in which Christ’s most holy humanity grew within Her. It was understandable that, having received Him within Herself, as His living tabernacle on earth, He should also receive Her into His heavenly sanctuary.

This Solemnity of the Assumption opens grand doors for us, offering a fragrant and luminous path to eternal salvation. Faced with the promise of our resurrection, which is given to us by the mystery of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we should consider one another according to this ideal – as though we were already resurrected – because, beyond the humiliation and trials of this life shines the hope of the glorification towards which we are journeying.

How to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption

Let us live seeking the goods from on high, and let our thoughts follow the path of the Virgin Mary. She entered Heaven in body and soul and was exalted. At this moment, since we are not able to enter it physically, let us do so at least in desire.

Let us turn to the throne of Mary Assumed into Heaven, that we shall receive graces upon graces and be set upon this path that will lead us to the happy and eternal resurrection, when we shall recover our bodies in a glorious state.

This is why, as Dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira reflected, the Assumption must be considered “the feast of all joy and all happiness, the feast of the day when Our Lady, resurrected, was taken to Heaven in body and soul.”

The Kingdom of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will hold this mystery in special esteem because, together with the Incarnation, it constituted the greatest portent of history.

In fact, the Incarnation and the Assumption form a Gothic arch, which sums up the whole plan of Creation. In the Incarnation, God descends to live among men; in the Assumption, Mary ascends to live among the Three Divine Persons. In the Incarnation, God sanctifies the earth with His presence; in the Assumption, the entire Creation rises to Heaven in Mary, becoming divinized.

Msgr João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, EP

Text taken, with adaptations, from the book Mary Most Holy! The Paradise of God Revealed to Men, Vol. II.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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