Today we celebrate the day when—in the words of Pope Pius XII—
“the Immaculate Mother of God… having completed the course of her earthly life,
was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Why do we believe this? Why is it important to us?
Mary received early what all of us are promised at the end of time:
enjoying God’s presence, body and soul,
with our bodies—like Jesus and Mary—never to die again.
Why is this important to us?
It means God agrees with us about the glories of Mary!
From the beginning, Christians have showered love on Mary;
you see it in the Scriptures.
No figure in Scripture, other than Jesus himself,
is portrayed more lovingly.
When I was a seminarian, I would often visit the school.
One day, I was going to explain to 1st-graders what we believe about Mary.
So I arranged a skit:
one child would be the Angel Gabriel; one child would be Mary;
and to one child, I said, “you’re Jesus in heaven;
watch as Gabriel asks Mary to have you as a baby.
Listen for Mary’s answer—and without words, show your reaction.
When Gabriel asked, and Mary said, “yes,”
“Jesus” was leaping for joy!
There it is, why Christians ache with love for Mary;
even a child gets it: She gave us Jesus!
Consider this: if God had not showered such gifts on Mary—
then the unthinkable would be true:
that we sinners had outdone God in gratitude!
In the Old Testament, they had an “ark”—
a gold box that held the tablets
on which God himself wrote the words of his Covenant.
God demanded his people treat that ark with great reverence.
The ‘Word’ of the New Covenant isn’t written on stone—
In Christ, the Word became flesh.
That means the ark of the new covenant is Mary!
If God would honor a golden box,
how much more must he honor the woman
who not only guarded the Word in her womb for nine months,
but who honored him in her heart always?
So we agree with Saint John Damascene who said,
“It was necessary that she who had preserved her virginity inviolate in childbirth
should also have her body kept free from all corruption after death;
“It was necessary that she who had carried the Creator
as a child on her breast should dwell in the tabernacles of God.
“It was necessary that the bride espoused by the Father
should make her home in the bridal chambers of heaven.
“It was necessary that she who had gazed on her crucified Son
and been pierced in the heart by the sword of sorrow
which she had escaped in giving him birth,
should contemplate him seated with the Father.
“It was necessary that the Mother of God
should share the possessions of her Son,
and be venerated by every creature
as the Mother and handmaid of God.”