Do You Know Why We Celebrate The Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin Mary?

by August, History of the Church, Mary - The Blessed Mother

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin is a day of joy: our Mother is elevated to the heavens. God has triumphed. Love has triumphed. Life has triumphed. It has become evident that love is stronger than death, that God possesses true strength, and His power is goodness and love.

After spending her life on earth caring for Jesus, Mary is received into heaven and will continue watching over His Church for eternity. A deeply Marian saint envisions the scene as follows:

Assumpta est Maria in coelum: gaudent angeli! —God has taken Mary —body and soul— to Heaven: and the Angels rejoice!
So sings the Church. —And so, with that same outburst of joy, do we begin our contemplation in this decade of the Holy Rosary:
The Mother of God has fallen asleep. —Around her bed are the twelve Apostles. —Matthias in the place of Judas.
And we, through a grace respected by all, are also at her side.
But Jesus wants to have His Mother, body and soul, in Heaven. —And the heavenly Court, arrayed in all its splendour, hails Our Lady. —You and I —children after all— take the train of Mary’s magnificent blue cloak, and so we can watch the marvellous scene.
The most Blessed Trinity receives and showers honours on the Daughter, Mother, and Spouse of God… —And so great is Our Lady’s majesty that the Angels exclaim: Who is she?

St. Josemaría

The History of the Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin

This is a very ancient feast in the Church. The solemnity of the Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin Mary was established on August 15th in the 5th century, with the meaning of “Birth into Heaven” or, in the better-known tradition of the Byzantine Church, as the “Dormition” of Our Lady.

There are records that in Rome, the feast has been celebrated since early on, as early as the mid-7th century, but it had to wait until Pius XII proclaimed the dogma dedicated to Mary assumed into heaven in body and soul on November 1st, 1950.

St. John Paul II made us reflect on the fact that Mary’s presence in heaven, in body and soul, is a reason for joy, happiness, and hope for us. A creature of God, Mary, is already in heaven: with her and like her, we too, creatures of God, will be there one day.

The words in which Pius XII defined the dogma are beautiful:

“For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Pope Pius XII (Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November 1950)

Based on the Liturgy

Since no passage in Sacred Scripture describes the moment of the Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin, the liturgy presents us in the first reading from the Book of Revelation with the radiant image of our Lady being raised to Heaven in the integrity of her soul and body.

In the splendor of heavenly glory shines the Woman who, through her humility, became great before the Most High to the point that all generations will call her blessed. This meditation explains it.

The Psalm proclaims the role of our Mother as Queen: “At your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir!” We repeat this as the response to Psalm 44. In fact, seven days after the Assumption, we celebrate Mary as Queen. She is now beside her Son as Queen, in the eternal happiness of paradise, and from on high, she gazes upon her children.

With this comforting certainty, we turn to her and invoke her, asking for her intercession for her children: for the entire Church and for all of humanity. So that all, imitating her in faithful following of Christ, may reach the definitive homeland of heaven.

The Gospel of this solemnity suggests that we read the mystery of Mary in the light of the Magnificat: the gratuitous love that extends from generation to generation and the preference for the last and the poor find in Mary their finest fruit, their masterpiece, a mirror in which the whole people of God can see their own features.

Following Mary

Mary is the first among the redeemed; she is the image of the Church. That is why the Assumption is a joyful affirmation of hope. Through our faith, we believe that we, and the world in which we live are also progressing toward a transformation and glorification similar to what has already happened in Mary.

She has already received the fruit of her faith: “Blessed are you who believed.” The Magnificat, her song of faith in God’s transformative action, illuminates our faith and increases our hope. She now sits as Queen beside her Son in the eternal beatitude of Paradise, and from on high, she looks upon her children. Today, she shines as Queen over all of us pilgrims on the path to immortal glory.

In her, taken up into Heaven, the eternal destiny that awaits us beyond the mystery of death is revealed to us: a destiny of full happiness in divine glory. This supernatural perspective sustains our daily pilgrimage. Mary is our teacher of life. By looking at her, we better understand the relative value of earthly greatness and the full meaning of our Christian vocation.

From her birth to her glorious Assumption into Heaven, Mary traversed the long journey of faith, hope, and charity. These virtues blossomed in a humble heart abandoned to the will of God. These are the virtues that the Lord asks of every believer.

In this spiritual struggle, Mary’s help is decisive for the Church to achieve the definitive victory over evil. Mary is a solicitous mother who supports the efforts of believers and encourages them to persevere in their commitment to Our Lord.

Holy Mary has always been helping alongside the Church, helping each of the apostles, in her beautiful quiet way of humility. On the day when she was Assumed into Heaven, and we all, including you and me, went to bid her farewell from this earth, but we did not lose her. In fact, now she is more present in every moment of our life. Turn to her and seek her help as she leads you to her Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

This article first appeared on the Spanish site HERE.

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