The Assumption: Truly out of this world

By Kimberly Bruce

The Virgin Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, a Solemnity we observe on Aug. 15, is a sure sign and reminder to us of what we ultimately hope for as Christians: the reunification of our physical bodies with our spiritual souls upon the general Resurrection. 

Just as Christ’s disciples recognized Him when He appeared between His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, likewise, we, too, will recognize those who have passed before us from this life, in the life to come. 

For me, this is great news because it means I will once again see my loved ones as I knew them on earth, now in possession of their glorified bodies, in the ever after.

Body-persons
In his book, The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, reminds us that the Assumption teaches what Christ’s Resurrection revealed: that after our earthly life is over, “we will continue to be body-persons, either in heaven or in hell ... we do not shed our bodies.” Human beings are, naturally, comprised of a body and a soul, unlike angels who are entirely spirit beings.

Father Calloway points us to Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching that “every human body” is called “to become an instrument of holiness” to one day be able to share a life with God in Heaven. Mary’s Assumption exemplifies this. 

Having lost my brother, my father, and many friends and loved ones over the past five years, the Assumption fills me with ever-renewed hope and assurance of this future union with God for His faithful children.

Revealed dogma
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary’s body and soul into Heaven was officially defined as a revealed dogma of the Catholic faith on Nov. 1, 1950, by Pope Ven. Pius XII. While Christ’s Ascension was accomplished due to Christ’s own power, Mary’s Assumption resulted from the intense love between Mother and Son and the fact that Mary’s soul was Immaculate (free from original sin). 

The Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, in his book The World’s First Love, aptly described it this way: “The love of Mary for Jesus and the love of Jesus for Mary” resulted in such “an ecstasy as ‘to lift her out of this world,’” just as saints have been known to levitate off the ground due to their intense love of God. He said it is “our refusing wills and the weakness of our bodies” due to sin that keep us bound to earth.

Through Mary’s Assumption, God’s light shines on the dignity of women, too, because it was through a woman that God brought the Redeemer of the world to His created world of persons. 

Feminine genius
Women have a unique God-given dignity, call, and giftedness to bring to humanity that differs from men who possess their own distinct, God-given, equal-in-dignity call and giftedness. Saint John Paul II calls this treasure within women the “feminine genius.” Christ allows Himself to come closer to His people through His Holy Mother now, just as He allowed Himself to come to us through her in His Incarnation. He also honors the feminine genius within Mary by letting her draw us to Himself through her God-given attributes of maternal gentleness, love, protection, and peace. 

Personally, the closer I grew to Our Lady, she proceeded, as I always say, to then “dump me” at Jesus’ feet! Our Lady’s only objective is to bring us closer to her Divine Son.

How blessed are we to be able to achieve one day what the Virgin Mary has already realized — the reunification of our physical bodies with our spiritual souls, together with God, in communion with our brothers and sisters — all joyfully sharing in His beatific presence forever. 
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TVM

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