The Assumption of Mary

SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Today, we celebrate the greatest Feast of Mary, her Assumption into heaven, when the Mother of God, “having completed her course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”. Although defined as an article of faith by Pope Pius XII just over half a century ago, the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven has been accepted from the earliest of Christian times. The Assumption signals the end of Mary’s earthly life and marks her return to heaven to be reunited with Jesus. While the bodies of both Jesus and Mary are now in heaven, there is a difference between the Assumption and the Resurrection. Whereas Jesus arose from the tomb and ascended into heaven by his own power, Mary’s body was taken up to heaven by the power of her Son. For this reason, we use different words to describe each event. One is the Ascension of Christ and the other, the Assumption of Mary. “It was fitting,” St John of Damascus (b.675) wrote in a sermon on the Assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.” Our Lady, assumed into heaven, pray that we may also share in the glory of Christ’s Resurrection.