Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On the Assumption

From St. Gregory of Tours (written between 575-593ad):

"The course of this life having been completed by Blessed Mary, when now she would be called from the world, all the Apostles came together from their various regions to her house. And when they had heard that she was about to be taken from the world, they kept watch together with her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with His angels, and taking her soul, He gave it over to the Angel Michael and withdrew. At daybreak, however, the Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord's chosen ones, and it is the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end."

From St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople (730ad):

"When Christ had willed that His Mother, she who had borne Life Itself within her, should be taken upwards to Himself, He tells her, by the message of an angel who was already known to her, that the time of her falling asleep is now at hand. And this He did so that through the imitation of Her coming death, she might not be troubled at her departure from the living; as will happen to the rest of mortal men. ... Mary the Mother of Life has been assumed."

From a sermon by St. John Vianney (1786-1859):

"It is thought that the same angel who announced to her the mystery of the Incarnation told her also the hour of her death. The Blessed Virgin is said to have answered to the angel: 'O what bliss, and how ardently I desire after this moment!' ... When the hour arrived, she felt herself burning with so great a love that her soul could no longer remain in her body. O blessed moment! Can we, dear brethren, contemplate this death, without feeling an ardent desire to live a good life and to die such a holy death? We can certainly not expect to die of love; but we may hope at least to die in the love of God. Mary had no fear of death, for death was to place her in possession of eternal bliss; she knew that heaven was waiting for her, and that she was to be one of its choicest ornaments. Her Son and the whole celestial court were advancing to meet her, the Saints of heaven were waiting to conduct her in triumph into their kingdom. Everything in heaven was ready to receive her; she was to enjoy honors which are above everything which we can possibly imagine to ourselves."

From St. Josemaria Escriva, in a homily on the Assumption (1961):

"Mary has gone to heaven in both body and soul, and the angels rejoice. I can imagine, too, the delight of St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, who awaited her in paradise. The feast of the Assumption of our Lady prompts us to acknowledge the basis for ... joyful hope. Yes, we are still pilgrims, but our mother has gone on ahead, where she points to the reward of our efforts. She tells us that we can make it. And, if we are faithful, we will reach home. The blessed Virgin is not only our model, she is the help of Christians. And as we besiege her with our petitions - 'Show that you are our Mother' - she cannot help but watch over her children with motherly care."

From a Wednesday general audience of Pope John Paul II (July 2, 1997):

"The dogma of the Assumption affirms that Mary's body was glorified after her death. While for other human beings the resurrection of the body will take place at the end of the world, for Mary the glorification of her body was anticipated by a special privilege. ... After Christ, the incarnate Word, Mary is the first human being to achieve the eschatological ideal, anticipating the fullness of happiness promised to the elect through the resurrection of the body. ... We can also see the divine will to advance woman. In a way analogous to what happened at the beginning of the human race and of salvation history, in God's plan the eschatological ideal was not to be revealed in an individual, but in a couple. ... In the face of the profanation and debasement to which modern society frequently subjects the female body, the mystery of the assumption proclaims the supernatural destiny and dignity of every human body, called by the Lord to become an instrument of holiness and to share in his glory."

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