for the Solemnity of
Rev 11:19a & 12:1-6a,10ab - 1 Cor 15:20-27 - Lk 1:39-56
by Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
The Assumption of Mary
Rev 11:19a & 12:1-6a,10ab
Rev 11:19a, Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. 12:1, And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2, she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. 3, And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. 4, His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; 5, she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6a, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God. 10ab, And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, «Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come.»
1 Cor 15:20-27
1 Cor 15:20, In fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21, For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23, But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24, Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25, For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26, The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27, For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.
Lk 1:39, In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41, And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, «Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43, And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44, For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45, And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.» 46, And Mary said, «My soul magnifies the Lord, 47, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 49, for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50, And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. 51, He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, 52, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; 53, he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. 54, He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.» 56, And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven! She who saw her Son rise up into Heaven, with both his body and his soul, is also borne up into Heaven by God, with both her body and her soul! This is a truth of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Faith! It is even a dogma of the Catholic Church defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950.
Let us try to understand a little why the body of Mary was granted such a favor. First of all, let us remember that Mary is Immaculate in her Conception. This means that Mary, by a privilege from the Lord, was conceived, by her parents Joachim and Anne, without the stain of original sin. The grace of God has always inhabited her soul, and so the grace of God has always given her body a certain gracious and agreeable aspect, though an altogether chaste one that does not give rise to the least temptation. God always loved Mary in the fullness of her person, in both body and soul together.
As soon as she was able to, Mary freely offered herself to God, in both her body and her soul. She consecrated to God her pure soul and her virgin body. She persevered in this intention always, until the end of her life on earth. Even when the Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she would become the Mother of the Messiah, Mary, her soul "full of grace" (Lk 1:28), objected that she intends to remain a virgin at any cost. Mary is certain that this is God's will for her, and she does not want to derogate it for any reason.
However, the Archangel Gabriel offers Mary the decisive argument: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." (Lk 1:35) This means that the body of Mary will, at the same time, both remain virginal and serve the cause of the Son of God who will take on flesh from that most pure body. Mary consents to this, saying: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38)
As soon as the Covenant between God and Man was realized, body and soul, in Christ, the Holy Spirit, He whom Christ brought to the world, had no greater desire than to pour himself into and to live in the soul of Mary, depositing there all sorts of virtues, such as faith, hope, and charity, in a degree of perfection that could never be equaled and would forever be unequaled.
If the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of Mary, that is to say if he enters into spiritual contact with her soul, then he also enters into contact, in a certain way, with the most pure and most chaste body of Mary, since the soul directly animates the body of every human person. The Holy Spirit does not enter the body of Mary, but he honors that body by living in the soul of Mary in a unique and incomparable manner.
The Holy Spirit and Mary are very close, very intimate. Nothing separates them. For they are, in the Lord Jesus, each others' husband and wife. The Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, wrote, in his Encyclical "Redemptoris Mater" on the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the pilgrim Church: "The Holy Spirit had already come down upon her, and she became his faithful spouse at the Annunciation." (no. 26) Now, what does Holy Scripture say, cited by Jesus himself, on the subject of marriage and the relation between the spouses? It says this: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." (Gen 2:24) By making Mary his spouse, the Holy Spirit honors her body in an indissoluble manner!
The Holy Spirit is the Love of God personified. Despite annoyances, anxieties, and pains of all kinds, Mary lived in this Love. Each day, this Love grew in her, for she could remember, in a perfect memory, the Love of the previous days. Now, as we are all limited, eventually a day comes that is the last: Mary can no longer remember the Love of the past, for the Love of the past has become present! It is thus that Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, passes from time to the eternity of God.
Mary seems dead, for she is no longer of time, but rather of eternity. Her body remains visible until it is brought into the tomb, but then it disappears from everyone's sight, and notably from that of the Apostle Thomas, who is always late for big events, in order to better witness to them.