Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Don’t forget, it is a Holy Day of Obligation. This is one of those days that is greatly misunderstood by many. So let’s talk about it, and hopefully clear up some misconceptions that some people may have.
First of all, Catholics believe that Mary was assumed, body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life. We do not believe that Mary ascended into heaven on her own power. This in no way makes Mary a goddess or attributes divinity to her. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says…”The Immaculate Virgin…was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory…so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians.”
What about the Scriptures? In the first reading today from Revelation 11-12, we see John telling of a vision of a woman giving birth to the savior. Then we read, “The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.” So, though the Scriptures don’t mention the Assumption explicitly, this could well be an implicit reference from John’s vision. In any case, it only stands to reason that Mary, the first Christian, would be the first to participate in the resurrection of the body that we all, by the grace of God, will one day participate in, also.
We end today’s reflection with the prayer over the gifts that you will hear at today’s Mass. “Lord, you raised the Virgin Mary to the glory of heaven. By her prayers, help us to seek you and to live in your love. Amen.