“With God, nothing is lost! In Mary, the goal has been reached and we have before our eyes the reasons why we journey: not to gain the things here below, which are fleeting, but the homeland above, which is for ever.”
– Pope Francis
With these words issued today, our Holy Father Pope Francis reminded us of why we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. It is a sign of the hope we all profess as Catholics – that one day, God willing, we will share in the joys of Heaven forever, in the presence of God, the Blessed Virgin, the Saints and Angels, and all those who have made the same journey before us. The Assumption is a foretaste of what we hope to experience ourselves.
Defining the Dogma of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady in his Apostolic Constitution ‘Munificentissimus Deus’, Pope Pius XII touched on this –
“That privilege has shone forth in new radiance since our predecessor..Pius IX..solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the loving Mother of God’s Immaculate Conception. These two privileges are most closely bound to one another. Christ overcame sin and death by his own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul. Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by Her Immaculate Conception, and as a result She was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and She did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of Her body.”
And so that hope which all of us have, is fulfilled in the person of the Mother of the Lord, in whom is brough to completion the great grace granted to Her by God in Her Immaculate Conception, as the Pope noted.
So often, we become focussed so intently on the present life that it is tempting to forget there is still a world – a life – to come. But as the Saints remind us, this life is the vessel, but not the port – it is the journey, but not the destination.
Today, let us look to Mary, taken to Heaven body and soul, and let us think of the life to come; and let us renew our hope that one day, by the grace of God, we might share in it.