Solemnity of the Assumption – August 15th
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption, a dogma defined in 1950 by Venerable Pius XII, with the words: “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.”
Throughout the Fathers of the Church, through the Scholastic doctors, even down to our day, the near unanimous tradition was that Mary’s body never saw corruption and that, instead of it decomposing, Christ brought it, together with her soul, to heaven so that Mary’s joy might be complete. This protection of her body from corruption is a special privilege of the Blessed Mother, like her perpetual virginity and her Immaculate Conception. On one hand, this makes complete sense, because Jesus took His human nature and human body from Mary, and so it would be unfitting for her body to return to the dust. Likewise, Saint Francis de Sales noted that Jesus was a most devoted and obedient son, and asked: “What son wouldn’t take his mother to heaven if he could?”
The Solemnity of the Assumption should fill us with hope and confidence, as Saint Paul tells us in the second reading: “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” In preserving Mary’s body from corruption, we see the power of Christ the King, whose enemies have already been defeated. The solemnity of the Assumption also means that we have “one of our own” who sits next to Jesus as queen, the ever-present intercessor who never ceases to pray for us. This celebration should also bring us to think “of what is above,” as Saint Paul tells the Colossians (3:2), namely, Christ and His Mother, whose beauty far surpasses the angels. In fact, as Saint Bernadette wrote, “My Lady is beautiful, beautiful beyond compare; so beautiful that when one has seen her once, one would wish to die so as to see her again; so beautiful that when one has seen her, one can no longer love anything earthly.”
On this feast of the Assumption, let us pray, through the intercession of Our Lady of the Assumption, for the grace to “think of what it above,” our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother, and so strive to enter into heaven with them at the end of our days.