Reflection for the Feast of the Assumption
A Reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel
The Assumption of the Mother of God
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” Luke 1:46–49
Today we celebrate one of seventeen different memorials, feasts and solemnities in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary that are found on the Roman Liturgical Calendar. Today’s celebration is one of the four great Solemnities by which our Blessed Mother is honored. Obviously, no other person other than our Lord is honored and celebrated with as much solemnity as the Mother of God.
The Solemnity of the Assumption honors the fact that when the Blessed Virgin Mary completed her life on earth, she never experienced death. Instead, at that glorious moment, she was singly privileged to be taken body and soul into Heaven to be with her resurrected Son so as to adore the Most Holy Trinity forever. It’s an amazing fact to consider that she is the only person, other than Jesus, who retains her body and soul, united as one in Heaven, in anticipation of that glorious day when the new Heavens and Earth will be created and when all the faithful will rise so as to live in a new bodily form forever with God.
Though this dogma of our faith had been held and believed by the faithful from the earliest times of our Church, especially since it was witnessed by those closest to our Blessed Mother at the time of her glorious Assumption, it wasn’t until November 1, 1950, that Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed it to be so, raising this teaching of our faith to the level of a dogma, meaning, it must be held and believed by all. In part, the Holy Father declared, “…we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: 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.”
This Dogma of the Assumption reveals to us many things worth prayerfully pondering. First and foremost, Mary’s Assumption was a result of her Immaculate Conception and the fact that she remained sinless throughout her life. That Dogma was also believed throughout the centuries and was solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. The Assumption follows from the Immaculate Conception because death follows from sin. It was not the original plan of God that we experience the death of our bodies and the separation of our bodies and souls. Again, this is a consequence of sin. But since the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from all sin from the moment of her conception by the future grace won by her Son on the Cross, and because she freely remained free from sin throughout her life by her ongoing cooperation with that grace, then she not only did not experience death, she could not. Death had no power over one who was without sin.
The Gospel passage quoted above comes from the beginning of Mary’s song of praise, her Magnificat, by which she not only gives the greatest glory to God but also reveals who she is. She is the one whom “all generations” will call “blessed.” She is the one for whom “the Almighty has done great things.” She is the one who will eternally proclaim “the greatness of the Lord” and whose spirit will forever rejoice in God her Savior. And she is that lowliest of servants whom God has raised up to the greatest glory.
Reflect, today, with the whole Church, upon the Most Glorious Ever-Virgin Mary who was conceived without sin, remained sinless throughout her life, never experienced death, and was taken body and soul into Heaven where she now adores the Most Holy Trinity and intercedes for you and for the whole Church. This is a Solemnity of great rejoicing! Share in this joy with the whole Church and with all the saints in Heaven!
A reflection for 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time My Catholic Life (www.mycatholic.life)