The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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4th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary ¤
Reading from Scripture: Ap 12: v1
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with twelve stars on her head for a crown.
Meditation: Let us joyfully behold the Virgin Mary in the splendour of her glorious body carried to heaven. Is not Mary worthy of all veneration because of what God did for her? In her Son's kingdom, Mary continues to fulfill her role of mothering all God's children. She is the lighthouse which never ceases to guide her children toward the shores of eternity.
Eternal Father, we praise and glorify you for your perfect daughter Mary, and for all the graces and privileges you bestowed on her.
Mary, my Mother, as your little child, sit me on your lap and embrace me with your arms as I tell you "I love you".
"Mary's assumption into heaven, as well as speaking of her littleness, also speaks of humanity's greatness. St John of the Cross has a phrase that God rejects nothing that is human, nor excludes anything human from this love: to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. Everything human, soul and body, is fit for the glory of God. And Mary's assumption, soul and body, is a declaration that we - spirit, mind, heart, and body, this body that is so easily idolised or mistreated or kicked around in our world, is meant for glory, is sacred, is good. To be assumed into heaven means to be taken into the fullness of love. It doesn't mean to be taken away, it means be taken into the fullness of love, into the life of the Blessed Trinity. So the whole of Mary is taken into God's love, which means that she is completely here with me, with you. Assumed into heaven means more in God, so more with you, able to embrace you, to take you into her heart, to carry you in her heart.'
[Music: Ave Maria sung by Anna Johnstone]
Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII
on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
The Fathers of the Church, the great Doctors, in the sermons they preached on the feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God, had as their theme a doctrine which all the Christian world already knew and accepted; it was for them to elaborate it, to bring out the essential meaning of it, beyond what lay on the surface. To say that the body of the Blessed Virgin never knew decay was not to exhaust the meaning of this solemnity. What we celebrated was the triumph she won over death when she was glorified, after the pattern of her only Son Jesus Christ in heaven.
Thus Saint John Damascene, the interpreter of this tradition par excellence, makes an eloquent comparison between the high privileges conferred on the Mother of God in general, and her bodily Assumption. ‘It was fitting that she who in giving birth had preserved her virginity unspotted should keep her body incorrupt even after death. It was fitting that she who had borne the Creator as a child in her bosom should have a dwelling-place with God. It was fitting that the bride espoused by the Father should dwell in the bridal-chambers of heaven. It was fitting that she who had gazed on her Son on the cross, receiving then in her breast the sword of sorrow she had been spared at his birth, should behold him seated with the Father. It was fitting that the Mother of God should enjoy the privileges of the Son and should be honoured by all creation as the Mother and the handmaid of God.’
Saint Germanus of Constantinople sees the translation of Our Lady’s incorrupt body as fitting in, not only with her divine motherhood, but with a special sanctity which attaches to its virgin state: ‘You appear in beauty, as it is written, and your virginal body is altogether holy, altogether chaste, altogether God’s dwelling; so that it can never know dissolution into dust; transformed indeed, because human, to the glory of incorruptible life; yet, the same body, living and glorious, preserved from harm, sharing in perfect life.’
Another very ancient writer states: ‘Being the most glorious Mother of Christ the Saviour, our God, who bestows life and immortality, she is restored to life by him, and in her body shares for evermore bodily incorruptibility with him who raised her from the grave and assumed her to himself in a manner known only to himself.’
In the last resort, all these Fathers base their conclusions on the Bible, which has given us the picture of our Lord’s Mother as inseparably attached to her divine Son, and constantly sharing his lot.
It is to be remembered that, from the second century onwards, Our Lady has been identified by the Fathers of the Church as the second Eve. Not on the same level, indeed, as the second Adam, but intimately associated in his warfare against the enemy of our race. It was to issue, as we know from the promised made in paradise, in a complete triumph over sin and death, those twin enemies that are so often coupled together by Saint Paul. Of this victory, Our Lord’s resurrection is the operative part, the supreme trophy; but Our Lady, too, who shared in the conflict, must share in its conclusion, through the glorifying of that virgin body of hers. Only then, as the apostle says, ‘when this mortal nature wears its immortality, the saying of scripture will come true, Death is swallowed up in victory’.
Great Mother of God, so wondrously united with Jesus Christ, from all eternity, by the same decree 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 exempted 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.
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