Luke 1:39-56, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Assumption — long since a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the church calendar: in fact, a celebration of God’s merciful power underlying all the mysteries of our faith.
God alone could exempt—as He did exempt—the Blessed Virgin Mary from the imperious law of mortality to which all the rest of us— “poor banished children of Eve”—are irreversibly subject. In the Eastern churches, Assumption is KOÍMĒSIS, Greek for “falling asleep;” while in the Latin west, it is DORMITIO, pointing to the same “falling asleep.”
Hence, another name for the Feast of the Assumption is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Dormition. As if, in what can only be a most inadequate and clumsy utterance, the Blessed Virgin Mary closed her eyes in sleep, then woke up to the ineffable fullness of life in God. Human utterance, necessarily feeble and groping, can never say it all.
For the Assumption, a mystery under God, is unfathomable, incalculable, beyond man’s power to account for. On the first of November 1950, as infallible teacher of the Faith, in an EX CATHEDRA pronouncement, His Holiness Pope Pius XII defined the Dogma of the Assumption—an article of Faith: not anything we can argue about, not anything we try to prove, as we might a mathematical proposition. We bow to Sacred Doctrine: the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, AT THE END OF HER EARTHLY TENURE, WAS ASSUMED BODY AND SOUL INTO HEAVEN, WITHOUT EVER UNDERGOING CORRUPTION.
On our arduous pilgrim way to that final destination we are born and bound for, we have Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption, as preeminent model and inspiration: one with Christ her son, one with Him in His work, one with Him from Bethlehem to Calvary and on to the Mysteries of the Empty Tomb—when the time came, she was thus assumed to Heaven, being now forever one with Him in glory. We hail Christ as Redeemer; the Blessed Virgin Mary as Co-Redeemer. Ours to strive to make our own her assent: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word!”
Mary wrapped her new born in swaddling clothes. Later, she cradled in her arms the dead weight of the Crucified. For being one with Jesus on Calvary, so then at her Assumption she was one with Jesus in the mysteries of His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven!
We have in the Assumption a source of imperatives, charging us to be part of the Lord’s work, as Mary was part thereof; to bring the Lord’s mercies to bear, as Mary did, upon the world of our time; giving us in our unworthiness the FRUIT of her womb: Jesus, Savior of the world!
In the Church’s Infancy, the apostles and their increasing group, gathered around the Blessed Virgin Mary, praying and breaking Bread together. The first celebrations of the Eucharist after the Last Supper began with them, the Blessed Virgin Mary being a vital energizing presence in their midst. This brings us to our Eucharist here at this moment: Jesus in His Paschal Mystery, Jesus in His entire life, Jesus in all that He is, from first to last, from Bethlehem to Calvary.
Nourishing ourselves on the Bread of Life that Jesus Himself said He was and ever is, we must make ourselves mindful of a solemn implication: our life’s endeavor to become what we eat, ever seeking our transformation into the Lord.
“O Lord, make us the Bread You are; break us up; pass us around!”
*image from the Internet