After a little hiatus…I am back at posting! One of these days I will start posting about my daily life as a priest and some of the amazing experiences. I remember reading such blogs when I was discerning very early on and found them helpful. Maybe they would be helpful to others as well…
Today the Church rejoices. Why do we rejoice? This day we celebrate the dogma of faith that our Blessed Mother was taken, body and soul, into heaven. Right now, she is in Heaven. She is right here with us present to us, even if we do not see her.
In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary to be a divinely revealed truth that “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
He did not simply wake up one day and decide after eating his breakfast to define this as a dogma. After carefully looking at what had been constantly taught and believed since the very early years in the Church, Pope Pius XII was able to say this is something that is an integral part of our faith.
Our Blessed Mother, conceived without the taint of original sin, was to become the New Ark. She would bear in her very womb the second person of the Blessed Trinity–Jesus Christ, the Son of God. One thought in regard to the reality of the assumption is found in the earliest centuries: it was most fitting that the virgin who carried God in her womb should not see bodily corruption after death.
St. John Damascene, a monk from the seventh century writes: “It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.”
As Catholics we believe in this amazing truth. The Blessed Mother is in heaven, body and soul. This solemnity is meant to stir in us a greater love toward our Blessed Mother and in this love to grow stronger in love toward our Lord who will bind us closer to one another in the Mystical Body of Christ. We cannot say that we are Catholic and deny this truth. Pope Pius XII says it very clearly: “let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.”
This is a great day–a day in which we celebrate a most glorious reality in the life of the Blessed Mother, and all the heavenly court. We too must rejoice, for there is a great reminder to us of the reality of the resurrection of the body and soul at the final judgment. Looking toward the Blessed Mother’s purity of life and total devotion to doing the will of God, will lead us to love the will of God and to detest sin, especially mortal sin which if we die without confessing, will lead us to live the exact opposite of what the Blessed Mother experiences and lives in heaven. In seeing the glory of our Blessed Mother, we see the glory of heaven. On the flip side, this should lead us more and more into realizing the sheer horror and ugliness that hell is–eternity away from God.
This great event should show us the contrast between the false materialistic ideals that begin to corrupt our moral thinking and the glorious dignity that God has prepared for you and me for all eternity. This event should also lead us to reflect on the truth of the resurrection and strengthen our faith in this crucial aspect of our faith.
The Assumption of Mary shows us: how we live our lives, in the most ordinary details does matter. She too experienced the ordinariness of daily life. She too experienced great joys, fears, intense sorrows. She walked the earth, and her son, our Blessed Lord, could not see His own mother’s body decompose in the tomb. He brought her to heaven to be with Himself. He wants in the end to bring each of us to heaven with him, but He gives us the free will to either accept this great gift, or to deny it and instead seek our own desires and satisfactions
Mary is truly the Ark of the Covenant. David danced in front of the Ark, but St John the Baptist leapt in the womb of St Elizabeth at the arrival of the savior of the world when Mary visited her cousin. The true Ark is body and soul in heaven. We celebrate this great reality today. May it spur us on to grow in holiness and fear only separation from God. Mary, Ark of the Covenant, Pray for us. Amen.