August 15: SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY.
Significance & Consequences.
Dear brethren in Christ, Happy Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady! The entire Church −triumphant, pilgrim and suffering− rejoices on this great day when the Most Blessed Trinity rewards Our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, glorifying her at the end of her life on earth. On this regard, I would like to center our reflection on the following ideas: (1) What is the dogma of the Assumption all about? (2) What are the consequences of her Assumption for us, Christians? (3) What was the path She took leading towards her final glorification?
- WHAT IS THE DOGMA OF THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY?
The dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady means that Our Lady was “taken up body and soul into heavenly glory” without suffering death, which is a consequence of original sin. The following words are taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 966 which teaches and reiterates the dogma on the Assumption of Our Lady promulgated by Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in “Munificentissimus Deus” (1950).
The “Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, WAS TAKEN UP BODY AND SOUL INTO HEAVENLY GLORY, AND EXALTED BY THE LORD AS QUEEN OVER ALL THINGS, SO THAT SHE MIGHT BE THE MORE FULLY CONFORMED TO HER SON, THE LORD OF LORDS AND CONQUEROR OF SIN AND DEATH
(Lumen gentium 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf. Rev 19:16).”
Nevertheless, since the fifth century, the Church has held implicitly the belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, body and soul, into heaven. It can be deduced from the Liturgy, from pious documents and the writings of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church.
From the Patristic and theological viewpoints, there are many sources which assert this Marian privilege, but the one stands out providing reasons of convenience are the following words taken from the St. John Damascene’s homily:
“It was fitting that she who in childbirth preserved intact her virginity should preserve without corruption her body after the conclusion of her earthly life. It was fitting that she who bore in her womb the creator become a babe should dwell in the divine mansion. It was fitting that the spouse of God be taken to the heavenly home. It was fitting that she who witnessed her Son on the cross, suffering in her heart then the pain she was spared in childbirth, should contemplate him seated at the right hand of the Father. It was fitting that the Mother of God come to possess what belongs to her Son and that she be honored as Mother and Servant of God by all creatures.” (St. John Damascene, Homily 2 on the Dormition, 14 cited in Pius XII, op. cit).
- CONSEQUENCES OF THE DOGMA OF THE ASSUMPTION:
2.1. OUR LADY’S ASSUMPTION AS THE ANTICIPATION OF THE GLORY OF ALL FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS
It is a great day for us as well for the “ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN IS A SINGULAR PARTICIPATION IN HER SON’S RESURRECTION” is also “AN ANTICIPATION OF THE RESURRECTION OF OTHER CHRISTIANS: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 966).”
2.2. THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY IS A SOURCE OF OUR JOYFUL HOPE THAT ONE DAY WE SHALL ALSO FOLLOW THE SAME DESTINY.
The exultant culmination of Our Lady’s life on earth with her glorification both in body and soul will be the final destiny and finale for all faithful Christians, her children, and confirms our hope of reaching heaven to contemplate the Blessed Trinity.
The feast of the Assumption of our Lady prompts us to acknowledge the basis for this joyful hope. Yes, we are still pilgrims, but our mother has gone on ahead, where she points to the reward of our efforts. She tells us that we can make it. And, if we are faithful, we will reach home. (St. Josemaria, “Christ is Passing By,” n. 176)
- HER FINAL GLORIFICATION: FRUIT OF HER TOTAL LOVE AND SELF-GIVING TO GOD
On the other hand, the blessed Virgin is not only our model, she is not only the help of Christians, SHE IS ABOVE ALL OUR MOTHER as well. In spite of the fact that She is now in heaven, she keeps on watching over her children with motherly love and care, interceding for each one of us so that we may arrive at our heavenly goal.
Nevertheless, we should not forget that Our Lady’s final glorification in her Assumption was the result of her TOTAL SELF-GIVING AND LOVE FOR GOD AND HIS WILL. Let us then ask God through the intercession of Our Mother Mary so that we may also learn to imitate Her in her total love and self-giving, without reserve, unafraid of the Cross and undaunted and generous to struggle daily against our self, for love of God and of others.
“O God, who looking on the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary, raised her to such grace, that your Only Begotten Son was born of her according to the flesh, and that she was crowned this day with surpassing glory; grant through her prayers, that saved by the mystery of your redemption, we may merit to be exalted by you on high. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Opening prayer, Mass of the Solemnity)
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS.
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, “La Asunción de la Virgen” in http://uploads2.wikiart.org/images/bartolome-esteban-murillo/the-assumption-of-the-virgin-1670.jpg Modified: added flowers for love and in honor of Our Lady