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Assumption of Our Blessed Mother
What Are We Destined to Be?
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Aug 14, 2011)
Come, let us, with one mind and heart, praise the Lord on this solemn Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. Mary was "assumed" by God into the heavenly kingdom of Christ in the fullness of her spiritual and bodily existence.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it:
The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body (974).
This precious feast calls us to reflect on the Original Fall of our first parents who were tempted to know as God knows. They told the evil one, who asked about the tree of knowledge, that they were not to eat of its fruit. The Original Justice enjoyed by them was the full sum of what God willed for us as He created human beings in His image and likeness giving to Adam and Eve the very same prerogatives as are now had by the angels — both the fallen and holy.
This primitive state before the Fall included the gift of sanctifying grace and the lesser preternatural gifts of immortality — that is freedom from death, or from the capacity to decay and disintegrate. God alone is absolutely immortal. His spirit is eternal by its very nature. He always has existed and always will exist. He cannot not exist. Natural immortality belongs to all spiritual persons, angels and human souls. Their immortality is not absolute because God could cause them to cease. Freely given immortality is a special grace, given by God to our first parents Adam and Eve, freedom from bodily death, and from separation of soul from body.
This extraordinary gift of immortality is one that Mary Immaculate received from God because of her being prepared to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Thus, we can see that the interrelationship of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption is fundamental, and the logical consequence of sinlessness is the freely given gift of God to Adam and Eve and the new Eve, Mary. Attentive to her prerogative as the mother of the promised Messiah, we cannot help but see that she was given a glorified body at the time of her death. The glorified body is completely free from every kind of physical depravity, such as sorrow, sickness, injury, or death, so that it cannot suffer or die. This gift of impassibility is the result of a perfect agreement of the body and emotions to the soul.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away" (Rev 21:4). Mary's pure soul was always "proclaiming the greatness of the Lord" because her will was at one with God in its very self.
Another preternatural gift is freedom from concupiscence. Strictly speaking, concupiscence is the impulsive movement of our sensual appetites toward what we imagine as pleasant and away from what we imagine as painful. The concupiscence of the eyes is an inordinate desire to see, hear, and know what is harmful to a virtuous life. It is inconsistent with a holy state in life, or detrimental to higher duties. An example would be the desire to work only for material possessions no matter the means employed, gratify our ambitions even to the destruction of ourselves or others, or nurturing our pride so as to become blind to our limits and actual needs. Concupiscence of the flesh is inordinate when sensual pleasure is desired as an end in itself separated from its divinely intended purpose: for our bodies are to facilitate our practice of virtue and satisfy our legitimate desires.
Because Mary was free from all sin, she remained filled with a knowledge of God — all that is good and constantly lived with a well-informed mind and will. The very encouragement of Mary to the servants at Cana in Galilee — "do whatever He tells you" (Jn 2:5) — is the essence of her attitude to life and the God of all life, all coming from the deep union of her soul with God.
Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven is the fulfillment of God's promise to recover all gifts to mankind. The Immaculate one lived and lives as all human beings were destined to live. Because of mother and Son, we may live this union now as we await the coming of the Lord in Glory. She, the glory of Jerusalem, is our hope of glory.