The Church has many reasons for celebrating holy days, but one important one is that she wants her children to remember and relearn the truths of our faith. On these days, like little children, we can wonder at the mysteries and miracles God has wrought. He still works miracles, which is a truth we can easily forget as we immerse ourselves in our ordinary duties. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which we honored this past week, compels us to draw closer to our Lady and our Heavenly Father. We thank God for teachers like Blessed John Henry Newman, who, in his meditation “On the Assumption,” opens this mystery to us in its simplicity and wisdom.
On the meaning of the Assumption, the Catechism states: “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” Many Christians and non-Christians wonder why our Lady had to be preserved from corruption, and why she should receive this special privilege among mankind.
Blessed Newman says it begins with who Mary is: “As soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Mary receives honor because of who her Son is – our only Lord and Savior, and from His victory over sin and death, Mary is blessed with this gift.
Yet, Mary was not the first or the only one to have her body preserved from corruption. Blessed Newman quotes St. Matthew, who reports that bodies of the saints came out of the tombs following our Lord’s resurrection. “Can we suppose that Abraham, or David, or Isaias, or Ezechias, should have been thus favored, and not God’s own Mother?…Was she not nearer to Him than the greatest of the Saints before her? Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin…lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.”
We, too, want to be more fully conformed to our Lord, just as our Lady is, and to be in Heaven as she is united with the Object of our love. She will help us bring to Him the little that we have and to rely on Him as she did. She is the Mother of our Lord, and she is our Mother too. Let us go to her today, and, with confidence, to our Heavenly Father, who never fails to honor and bless those who surrender to Him.