The dogma of Faith that is the Assumption of Mary should be a powerful reminder that in our lives there is a certain hierarchy of values in our lives. The Blessed Virgin Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven. We must pursue truth rather than pleasure, love over comfort, heaven over earth, and the soul over the body. All of these lesser options are good such as the body, such as the created world, but only because of the eternal light in which we look at them, and when we see them as given to us by God to help us.
The Catechism speaks about how we are supposed to look at the human body with respect but not with an absolute value:
If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2289)
The solemnity of the Assumption, when we celebrate Mary’s body and soul being assumed into Heaven, shows us that our lives are properly ordered toward experiencing the beatific vision. Of course we cannot do this on our own power, but we need to have the life of grace in our souls. We are not properly ordered to idolize the body at the expense of worship toward God. We should always keep this in mind lest we are ever tempted to give in to a sort of paralyzing fear in the midst of this pandemic. We take the proper precautions, but we never prioritize our physical lives over eternal life with God, and the life of grace in our souls and proper worship of God.
We can better understand what this means when we see the powerful example of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the great examples provided to us by the Saints. Mary will help us to have our eyes and hearts in heaven while our feet are on the ground. She will help us to make choices that say “yes” to God and “no” to sin and the devil. It may seem that the world is falling apart, and we are in fact in a battle. St Maximilian Kolbe, a martyr at Auschwitz who promoted devotion to the Blessed Mother said that:
“Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future. The conflict with hell cannot be engaged by men, even the most clever. The Immaculata alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan.”
This man, Father Maximilian Kolbe, offered his life in promoting devotion to the Blessed Mother. He worked tirelessly for her, even while he only had one lung due to losing one because of tuberculosis. When the Nazis came to round up prisoners in his cell block in retaliation for an escapee, he offered himself in place of a man who had a wife and children. He saw clearly in that moment the proper ordering of things. He could have argued with himself that he was needed for the apostolate. Rather, he saw this as a profound call from the Holy Spirit to stand up for this innocent man’s life (who by the way was present at his canonization). We too need this proper ordering in our daily lives. His devotion and constant prayers to the Blessed Mother obtained for him this powerful grace to heroically make this self gift.
We need this courageous mother more than ever to hold our hand as she beats back the devil, who is terrified because of her humility, her purity of heart, and her total “yes” to God’s will in her life. Her very generous motherly heart stands in stark contrast to the cries of “me, me, me!” That are the anthem of the spirit of the world.
The Blessed Mother’s intercession will help us also to grow in the virtue of hope, one of the theological virtues infused into the soul at Baptism. “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 1817). The gentile woman who approaches our Lord begging Him to free her daughter demonstrates a certain hope: she realizes her own inability to free her daughter, so she goes to the one who has the power to do so. Her persistent prayer wins out. We must be persistent in our prayer life, never giving in to sloth or laziness. Through this daily persistence we will grow in the virtue of hope and we will long more and more for the life in Heaven and the pains and difficulties of this life will have less and less power over us. The Catechism also reminds us that, “it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.” (CCC 1818)
“We are passing through disastrous times, yet in the midst of this deluge of evil, the Most Clement rises like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man. Recognize in her, that Virgin most powerful, did crush the head of the serpent” -Pope St. Pius X, Ad Diem Illum
The Blessed Mother obtained great graces for many men and women through the ages, and it is evident very powerfully in the heroic life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr of charity. We too must go to the Blessed Mother everyday invoking her intercession to fill us with the virtue of hope.
Enjoy this inspiring documentary about Saint Maximilian Kolbe, ardent promoter of the Immaculata (The Immaculate One–The Blessed Virgin Mary)!