The Feast of the Assumption

Luke 1: 39-56
Rev 11: 19; 12: 1-6, 10
Ps 45: 10-12, 16/ 1 Cor 15: 20-27

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
(Revelation 12:1)

My soul proclaims the Lord’s greatness,
In God my spirit rejoices;
He looks upon my lowliness,
And fills my life with His graces.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (Luke 1: 39-56)

Reflection

Today, August 15, our Church celebrates the Feast of our Lady’s Assumption into heaven. Although Catholics have been observing the feast for hundreds of years, it was only in 1950 that Rome finally declared the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven as dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, the Feast of All Saints, Pope Pius XII declared that by the grace of God, “Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven.”

We have no account in the Bible depicting the assumption of our Mother Mary into heaven, unlike the Ascension of our Lord Jesus which is related in the Gospel of Mark and Luke. We only have it as our Church’s tradition that Mary supposedly died in the presence of all the Apostles, and that after her burial, they discovered that her tomb was empty, thus concluding that her body had been taken up into heaven. However, the inspired masterpieces of paintings from the late sixteenth century onwards depicting Mary’s assumption into heaven, appearing as “a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, with twelve stars on her head for a crown” (first reading in Rev.12:1), attest to this great devotion, and are manifestations of the divine grace bestowed on the Mother of God. Besides, if Christ the firstfruits, Who ascended into heaven would raise at His coming those who belong to Him, (2nd reading, 1 Cor.15) surely He would bestow upon His earthly mother this priority above all of His disciples. After all, we have it on record in the Bible that two Old Testament prophets were bodily taken up into heaven (Enoch and Elijah), so why not the earthly mother of our Lord? We celebrate the feast of the Assumption of our Lady with the firm belief that we also will be taken up into heaven at the proper time.

Heavenly Father, we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven because it gives us great hope that someday we too will “glorify You, Lord, and our spirit will rejoice in You, dear God, our Savior” in Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.

Comments are closed.