The Gospel for today’s feast from St Luke relates to the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. It’s interesting that the Church has chosen this Gospel to celebrate the Assumption, but it’s because of her Magnificat. We are meant to hear the Magnificat of Mary in heaven glorifying God. “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” At the end of her earthly pilgrimage Mary was assumed body and soul to heaven without knowing corruption. While on earth her one desire was to see and love God and be with him for eternity. Now her whole being sings the Magnificat in praise of The Most Holy Trinity.
At the prospect of death we recoil in horror because we have become alienated from God through sin. We have a tendency to see death as simply the end, as something mysterious and unknown, and the unknown always terrifies us. Alienated as we are from the source of life we find ourselves unable to surrender, to trust, and that’s what leads to the fear of death. Mary was without sin and so her transition from this life was totally peaceful,effortless and without fear. Popular piety speaks of her dormition, of her falling asleep, and we are not normally afraid to fall asleep. So it goes for someone without sin as she leaves this world and moves into the next. Mary fell asleep because she was utterly confident in God’s love. She fell asleep and woke up again in the transfigured life of the next world.
Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution on the Assumption says: “ Great Mother of God, so wondrously united with Jesus Christ, from all eternity, by the same degree of providence; in her conception immaculate, in her divine motherhood a virgin most pure, the noble associate of our Redeemer in his victory over sin and its consequences – what reward awaited her at last? For the crown of all her graces, she was exempt from the sentence of decay; shared her Son’s victory over death, and was carried up to heaven, soul and body, there to reign as queen at his right hand, who is the King of Ages, the immortal.”
Mary is the archetype of the Church and our Mother. She now lives where each one of her children will live one day in our own resurrected body. When Christ returns in glory he will command our mortal bodies to rise from the dead. Then our body and soul will be reunited, never more to suffer or die. Mary’s assumption is given to us to contemplate because it speaks to us of our glorious future if we remain faithful to God. Let us ask Our Mother Mary to intercede for us as we continue our journey towards heaven.
Fr Anthony Mary