Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2012)


A man had just died. Arriving at heaven’s gate, St. Peter interviewed him. “Have you ever loved a woman?” “No,” the man replied, “Not a single one.” “Did you have special friends?” “No,” he answered. “How about your parents, brothers and sisters?” “I lost my parents as a child, and I have no brothers and sisters.” “Perhaps you have a pet that you cared for? Have you any love for nature?” “No.” Peter shook his head in disbelief and asked, “What took you so long to get here? You’ve been dead for ages!”[1].

You know, love makes life truly meaningful and worth living. To be more precise, love brings about life in its fullness. This truth is what we celebrate on this Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. On 1950, Pope Pius XII promulgated as a dogma revealed by God that: “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.” So, the dogma of the Assumption of Mary is based, according to the Fathers of the Church, on four arguments: first, Mary is the Immaculate Conception, she did not incur the general curse of sin and so her body was “exempted from the general law of dissolution.” Second, she is the Mother of God,  there is likeness to her Son, in body and soul. Third, her perpetual virginity: her body was preserved in virginal integrity. And fourth, she participated in the work of Christ: she enjoys the full fruit of the Redemption, which consists in the glorification of soul and body[2].

I know I know, all this is too complex or too theological, so let me put it in a very practical way: the Assumption of Mary can be easily explained by only one word: love. Based on our experience, love is overpowering. It is a force that moves us towards the object of love and be united with it. People who love money are always running after money. Those who love cars are always with their cars. And couples who are in love tend to be together all the time. There is some irresistible force in love that pulls the person towards the beloved. In the case of Mary, her love of God is so great that her whole being is pulled closer to God. It practically lifted her up to heaven, body and soul.

Bishop Fulton Sheen expressed it much better: “If the distant moon moves all the surging tides of earth, then the love of Mary for Jesus and the love of Jesus for Mary should result in such an ecstasy as to ‘lift her out of this world’”[3]. So, Mary’s Assumption can be easily understood by love. It is also love that is the source and cause of her perfect beauty…

All this leads us to a very practical lesson on how to be beautiful: be in love, truly in love with God, like Mary! For instance, Mother Teresa was not a beautiful woman physically. But as one looks at her for some time, her aura of holiness can be sensed, and her face gradually shines in a certain way that makes one believe she is indeed beautiful. Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts[4]. That is the beauty of somebody who is in love, whose life is completely immersed in the love of God…

So, this celebration of Mary’s Assumption inspires us to hope. Pope Benedict XVI said: “For over a thousand years, the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as ‘Star of the Sea’: Ave maris stella! Human life is a journey. Life is like a trip on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a trip in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. They are lights of hope. Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us?”[5].
This evening [morning] let us turn to Mary with love and devotion, may She gives us hope that, like her and through her maternal intervention, we will find the way to heaven, our true and lasting home[6]. Amen

[1] Adapted from Reader’s Digest
[2] cf. Dr. L. Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 209
[3] The World’s First Love, p. 134
[4] Martin Buxbaum.
[5] Spe Salvi, 49
[6] Fr. Mike Lagrimas, St. Teresa Church, New York, NY 10002. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris