Assumption of Our Lady
On this feast which is dear to us all, let us first of all congratulate our Blessed Mother for the glory which is hers. Every son worthy of the name should rejoice at the thought of his mother’s honour. How much more we who know with the certitude of faith that Mary our Mother is henceforth glorified with her beloved Son, exalted with Him above all the choirs of angels. Such is the truth. Let us consider the reasons now for which this singular grace was granted to Our Lady.
First of all, we can note that Mary never knew sin, neither original sin nor personal sin: she is undefiled, immaculate and as such it was not fitting that her body should dissolve into the corruption of the grave. Secondly, her body is virginal. In this, it is true, she has been followed by many others. But the virginity of Mary was unique, in that she was the image of the Holy Church, the virginal bride of Christ, and as the only woman who could boast of both virginity and maternity, her virginity bore fruit, which brings us to the third and most important reason for Our Lady’s glorification: her body had been the tabernacle of the divinity, the receptacle of the Word Incarnate, out of which God Himself came forth to save the world. For ninth full months God Himself dwelt in her womb adding grace to grace and taking her, as at least one saint boldly expresses it, to the confines of the deity.
In addition to these theological reasons that fully justify the glorification of Mary before all others, there are those which are fitting when we consider her role towards us her spiritual children. Knowing our Mother is already glorified in Heaven inspires us to lift up our minds and hearts on high (ad superna semper intenti as today’s oration so beautifully has it), with the utter confidence that she has not left us, but continues to intercede for us. Similarly, our Lady’s resurrected body already in heaven next to that of her divine Son, gives us the confidence that we will follow her one day and be like her in glory. Finally, as the prototype of the Church, she already realises in her person what the entire Church is destined to be at the end of time, as St Paul gives us to understand in the epistle to the Ephesians: Christ loved the church and delivered himself up for her: that he might sanctify her, cleansing her by the laver of water in the word of life: that He might present Her to Himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:25-27).
I propose another consideration inspired by this feast. We touched upon it on the feast of the transfiguration. The glorification of the body of Our Lady beside that of our Lord confirms the Church’s belief in the innate goodness of the human body. Just as it is fitting that the male sex be glorified in Heaven in the person of Our Lord, so is it fitting that the female sex should be equally glorified in the person of Our Lady. Pope John Paul II alluded to this when he said:“Before the profanation and the debasement to which modern society often submits, in particular, the woman’s body, the mystery of the Assumption proclaims the supernatural destiny and the dignity of every human body, called by the Lord to become an instrument of holiness and to participate in His glory.”
And so my dear brothers and friends, as this feast strengthens our faith in the love that the Triune God has borne us, so may it ignite within us a greater love for Him and for souls, and deepen our hope that we too, one day, will sit with our heavenly Mother in the very bosom of the Godhead. Amen.