The Assumption is, historically and liturgically, the greatest feast of Our Lady, for in this mystery we celebrate and honour her definitive glorification, body and soul, in Heaven. It is a feast dear to all Catholic hearts, for the honour of the Mother redounds upon her children. It gives us great joy to know that she, who gave birth to each of us in the bitter hour of Her Son’s passion on Calvary, is henceforth beyond all suffering and death, and reigns with Christ forever. Anyone who loves Mary as a son or a daughter cannot help but feel joy on this day.
The feast has many implications for our spiritual life. I would like to point out just two of them today. First of all, the glorification of Mary gives us a tremendous hope in our own glorification. Indeed, she is the only human person who we know has already been glorified in this way. Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is glorified in his human nature, for sure, but He is a Divine, not a human Person. Mary is 100% creature, just like us. Her being assumed into Heaven strengthens our confidence that we too some day, through Her intercession, will be raised up in glory and will no longer be subject to the frailty of our flesh.
Secondly, this feast shows us the great dignity of the human body, destined as it is, to be suffused with the glory of God, completely possessed, as it were, by the divinity. Perhaps this is the reason for which the definition of the dogma of the Assumption waited till the middle of the 20th century, at at time when, like never before, the human body is degraded, especially in the person of women, counted as nothing more than an object to be used and discarded. The rampant and decadent culture which surrounds us on every side is shown, by the Assumption of Mary, to be what it really is: a false, filthy, corrupt, perverse attempt at altering God’s plan for humanity. God created us for Himself, and He wants us to achieve fulfilment in Himself. He wants our bodies to be pure, dignified, adorned with every virtue, and glorified in Heaven. And that is precisely why, in these latter days, the Enemy exerts all his power to debase it to the level of the animal, for then God’s masterpiece is trampled in the dirt.
On this feast, let us lift up our eyes on high to the glorious Mother of God. Let us beg her for the grace to always respect the dignity of our own bodies and those of others. Let us ask Her in particular to convert all those who make sordid money through the profanation of the body, especially those of women and children. May the abomination cease thanks to the grace of penance, and may the real dignity of our human nature be thus acknowledged and protected by all.
When he defined the dogma on 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII composed this beautiful prayer which we can make ours on this day:
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of men.
We believe with all the fervor of our faith in thy triumphal Assumption, both in body and soul, into heaven, where thou art acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of saints; and we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted thee above all other pure creatures, and to offer thee the tribute of our devotion and our love.
We know that thy gaze, which on earth watched over the humble and suffering humanity of Jesus, is filled in heaven with the vision of that Humanity glorified, and with the vision of Uncreated Wisdom; and that the joy of thy soul in the direct contemplation of the adorable Trinity causes thy heart to throb with overwhelming tenderness.
And we, poor sinners, whose body weighs down the flight of the soul, beg thee to purify our hearts, so that, while we remain here below, we may learn to see God, and God alone, in the beauties of His creatures.
We trust that thy merciful eyes may deign to glance down upon our miseries and our sorrows, upon our struggles and our weaknesses; that thy countenance may smile upon our joys and our victories; that thou mayest hear the voice of Jesus saying to thee of each one of us, as He once said to thee of His beloved disciple: behold thy son.
And we who call upon thee as our Mother, like John, take thee as the guide, strength, and consolation of our mortal life.
We are inspired by the certainty that thine eyes which wept over the earth, watered by the Blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world, held in the clutch of wars, persecutions, and oppression of the just and the weak.
And from the shadows of this vale of tears, we seek in thy heavenly assistance and tender mercy comfort for our aching hearts and help in the trials of the Church and of our fatherland.
We believe, finally, that in the glory where thou dost reign, clothed with the sun and crowned with the stars, thou art, after Jesus, the joy and gladness of all the angels and of all the saints.
And from this earth, over which we tread as pilgrims, comforted by our faith in the future resurrection, we look to thee, our life, our sweetness, and our hope; draw us onward with the sweetness of thy voice, that one day, after our exile, thou mayest show us Jesus, the blessed Fruit of thy womb, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.