The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Presence of God - O most Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven, I beg you
to purify my senses so that I may begin to enjoy God even while I am on
1. The Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we contemplate today assumed body and
soul into heaven, reminds us very definitely that our permanent abode is not
on earth but in heaven where she, with her divine Son, has preceded us in
all the fullness of her human nature. This is the dominant thought in today's
liturgy. "O Almighty and everlasting God, who hast taken up body and soul
into heavenly glory the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Son: grant, we
beseech Thee, that, ever intent upon heavenly things, we may be worthy to be
partakers of her glory" (Collect).
The Feast of the Assumption is a strong appeal to us to live "ever
intent upon heavenly things," and not allow ourselves to be carried away by
the vicissitudes and seductions of the world. Not only was our soul created
for heaven, but also our body, which, after the resurrection, will be
welcomed into our heavenly home and admitted to a participation in the glory
of the spirit. Today we contemplate in Mary, our Mother, this total
glorification of our humanity. That which has been wholly realized in her,
will be realized for us, as well as for all the saints, only at the end of
time. This privilege was very fitting for her, the all-pure, the all-holy
one, whose body was never touched by even the faintest shadow of sin, but
was always the temple of the Holy Spirit, and became the immaculate
tabernacle of the Son of God. It is a reminder to us to ennoble our whole
life, not only that of the spirit, but also that of the senses, elevating it
to the heights of the celestial life which awaits us. "O Mother of God and
of men," exclaims Pius XII in his beautiful prayer for the Assumption, "we
beg you to purify our senses, so that we may begin to enjoy God here on
earth and Him alone, in the beauty of creatures."
2. Mary's Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual
ascent: detachment from the earth, flight toward God, and union with God.
Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heaven because she was
Immaculate; she was all-pure -- free not only from every shadow of sin, but
even from the slightest attachment to the things of earth, so that she
"never had the form of any creature imprinted in her soul, nor was moved by
such, but was invariably guided by the Holy Spirit" (J.C. AS III, 2,10).
The first requirement for attaining God is this total purity, the fruit
of total detachment. The Blessed Virgin, who lived her earthly life in
absolute detachment from every created thing, teaches us not to allow
ourselves to be captivated by the fascination of creatures, but to live
among them, occupying ourselves with them with much charity, but without
ever letting our heart become attached to them, without ever seeking our
satisfaction in them.
In her Assumption Mary speaks to us of flight toward heaven, toward God.
It is not enough to purify our heart from sin and all attachment to
creatures, we must at the same time direct it toward God, tending toward Him
with all our strength. The Church has us pray in today's Mass, "O Lord,
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was assumed into
heaven, may our hearts, enkindled by the fire of Thy love, continually
aspire toward Thee" (Secret). Our earthly life has value for eternal life
insofar as it is a flight toward God, a continual seeking after Him, a
continual adherence to His grace. When this flight fails, the supernatural
value of our existence lessens.
Mary has been taken up to heaven because she is the Mother of God. This
is the greatest of her privileges, the root of all the others and the reason
for them; it speaks to us, in a very special way, of intimate union with
God, as the fact of her Assumption speaks to us of the beatific union of
heaven. Mary herself stretches out her maternal hand to guide us to the
attainment of this high ideal. If we keep our eyes fixed on her, we shall
advance more easily; she will be our guide, our strength, and our
consolation in every trial and difficulty.
From "Divine Intimacy" by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.