“If we hope to be eternally with Jesus, we must now imitate the virtues of Mary. She is the perfect model of how we should live; in simple faith, trustful hope, and selfless love of God and others.” - Fr. John Anthony Hardon, S.J., Servant of God (1914 – 2000: was an American Jesuit priest, writer, and theologian)
Gospel Text: (LK 1:39-56)
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."
And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever."
Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin means that after Her life on earth, Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven. Unlike other saints, therefore, Our Lady is in Heaven not only with Her soul but also with Her glorified body. Pope Pius XII defined this doctrine as a "divinely revealed dogma" on November 1, 1950.
The Mother of God was conceived without original sin. Consequently She did not have to wait, like the rest of us, for the resurrection on the last day. She is with Her Divine Son in the same body – although now resplendent in glory – that She gave Him at Nazareth. He ascended bodily into Heaven forty days after His Resurrection. She was assumed bodily into Heaven after She completed Her stay on earth, some fifteen years later.
For about fourteen hundred years, the Feast of the Assumption has been celebrated on August 15. It is now one of the holy days of obligation for the universal Church (Canon 1246), when "the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass; they are also to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God" (Canon 1247).
What are some of the lessons for us to learn from this mystery of our faith? They are the same lessons that Our Lady gave us when She appeared at Fatima. We are to pray, make sacrifices, and do penance for poor sinners who are offending God.
Mary's bodily Assumption is the promise of our own glorious resurrection from the grave – provided we pray. Without prayer we cannot remain faithful in our service of God.
Mary's assumption is the proof of how profitable it is to make sacrifices.
Mary's Assumption is a call to penance.