In 1275 the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan said to Niccolo and Marco Polo that yours is the only religion that has turned a symbol of death (the Cross) into an object of beauty and power. Kublai probably never realized just how correct he truly was. Even though death is the most feared thing in the U.S.A., thanks to the rise of secularism and the decrease in faith, it truly has no power over us and Mary’s assumption into Heaven proves this.
The Cross and suffering have been transformed by Jesus to an instrument of eternal salvation, and our suffering has new meaning and efficaciousness, when it is united to the Cross of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we actually participate with our Savior in the salvation of the world. Since suffering has been transformed by the Paschal Mystery, which is the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus, death too has been transformed to not an end, but a means to an end, union with God. It is a new beginning in our life with Christ.
Mary’s Assumption, ordained and carried out by Jesus, points us to His Blessed Resurrection and the promise of ours as well. While it is true Mary was without original and personal sin and we aren’t, our sin, does not diminish God’s promise to all of us. Pope St. John Paul II said “on this day, we contemplate the Handmaid of the Lord in paradise, encircled in regal radiance, where even in her glorified body she has gone before us. We look to her as a sign of sure hope, a promise to the humble and righteous.” Original sin has corrupted us, but not beyond redemption.
As the Book of Revelation tells us, Mary though she was without sin was ordained by God to suffer in childbirth, a fruit of original sin, “she wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.” It is only right and just that the just and merciful God assume Mary’s uncorrupted body and soul into heaven because her body was pure, blessed and holy, unstained by human sin. There was another sign that appeared in the sky, the huge red dragon, and although he could not touch or corrupt her, he did corrupt Adam and Eve, and all mankind, but we have been redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. True, we will not be assumed like Mary was; this is still a day of hope and light. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “Mary is with God and in God and she is very close to Him and each one of us. Being in God, who is actually within us and all of us-Mary shares in the closeness of God.” Even though we are with sin, we can still be close to God, by the merits of Jesus Christ.
The humility of Mary is a sign to us of the life we are to live, by grace, while on earth. Even though she knew, as per the angel Gabriel, that generations will call her blessed, she considered herself a “lowly servant” and proclaimed the greatness of the Lord and not herself. She was self-sacrificing and humble. Through the sincere gift of herself, she came to know herself ever more deeper as St. John Paul II points out in Theology of the Body. He also said “great and heroic was the obedience of her faith; it was through this faith that Mary was perfectly united to Christ, in death and in glory.” Through her life, we can value and better understand our own earthly pilgrimage. We are an unconditionally loved and redeemed people who are promised glory in the afterlife. St. John Paul II said, “O Mary, Mother of hope, strong with your help we do not fear obstacles and difficulties; fatigue and sufferings do not discourage us, because you accompany us on the path of life and from heaven, you watch over all your children, filling them with grace.” Amen.
by Fr. Tom DeSimone