15 August 2009

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

15 AUGUST 2009. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady into heaven to be with her son, Our Lord Jesus, in the majesty and presence of God. It seems as though today is a turning point in the calendar; seasonally Autumn will be right around the corner and this solemnity marks a turning of the Church from the long days of Summer, and Ordinary Time, toward the great celebration of the Incarnation of Christ.

Pope Pius XII, in 1950, enunciated as Catholic dogma the belief that Our Lady was assumed bodily into heaven. In Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus (The Most Bountiful God), the Pope proclaims 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." While fairly recent in time, the Assumption is not a new teaching. Indeed, Tradition reaching back as far as the Third Century tells the faithful of Mary's bodily assumption to be with Our Lord.

Indeed, too, the Assumption is the very fulfillment of the hope in Christ that all faithful share--the bodily return of Our Lord and the bodily redemption of all the faithful to live in eternity with God. On the Solemnity of the Assumption in 2004, the great Pope John Paul II said this:
Today the Church celebrates Mary’s glorious Assumption body and soul into Heaven. The two dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are closely related. Both proclaim the glory of Christ the Redeemer and the holiness of Mary, whose human destiny is even now perfectly and definitively realized in God.

"When I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (Jn 14: 3). Mary is the pledge of the fulfilment of Christ’s promise. Her Assumption thus becomes for us "a sign of sure hope and consolation" (cf. Lumen Gentium, 68).

Today we venerate Our Lady who was assumed bodily into Heaven, a destiny for which every person is created--to be loved by God to the complete fulfillment of that Love. Thus, we pray for the assistance of Our Lady, assumed and seated in heaven with Christ Her son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit--the Holy Trinity--that as the Blessed Virgin Mary was the fulfillment of Christ's promise to us, we may hope in Christ, loving Christ with our very lives, to share too in Our Mother's eternal reward, with Her assistance and the intercessory assistance of all the angels and saints.


Father in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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