And Elias, the prophet, stood up, as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch (Ecclesiasticus. 48.1, DRV)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Instructions on Christian Doctrine: the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven


Solemnity of the Glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Body and Soul, Into Heaven

Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the Ark, which Thou hast sanctified (Ps. 131.8). "The Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25.10-22), built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord's temple... a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempted from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven." (Pope Pius XII, in "Munificentissimus Deus" [the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary], Nov. 1, 1950)

Death being the punishment of sin, it would seem that the Divine Mother - all holy, and exempt as she was from its slightest stain - should also have been exempt from death, and from encountering the misfortunes to which the children of Adam, infected by the poison of sin, are subject. But God was pleased that Mary should in all things resemble Our Lord; and as the Son died, it was becoming that the Mother should also die; because, moreover, He wished to give the just an example of the precious death prepared for them. He willed that even the most Blessed Virgin Mary should die, but by a sweet and happy death.

There are three things which render death bitter: attachment to the world, remorse for sins, and the uncertainty of salvation. The death of Mary was entirely free from these causes of bitterness, and was accompanied by three special graces, which rendered it precious and joyful. She died as She had lived, entirely detached from the things of the world; She died in the most perfect peace; She died in the certainty of eternal glory.

And in the first place, there can be no doubt that attachment to earthly things renders the death of the worldly bitter and miserable, as the Holy Ghost says: O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to man who hath peace in his possessions! (Ecclus. 41.1) But because the Saints die detached from the things of the world, their death is not bitter... Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord (Apoc. 14.13). They are those happy souls who pass into eternity already detached, and, so to say, dead to all affection for terrestrial things; and who, like St. Francis of Assisi, found in God alone all their happiness, and with him could say, "My God and my all."

Saint John saw Mary represented in that Woman, clothed with the sun, who held the moon under Her feet. And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under Her feet (Apoc. 12.1). Interpreters explain the moon to signify the goods of this world, which, like her, are uncertain and changeable. Mary never had these goods in Her heart, but always despised them and trampled them under Her feet; living in this world as a solitary turtle-dove in any earthly thing; so that of Her it was said:  The voice of the turtle is hear in our land (Cant. 2.12). And elsewhere: Who is She that goeth up by the desert? (Cant. 3.6) Whence the Abbot Rupert says, "Thus did you go up by the desert; that is, having a solitary soul." Mary, then, having lived always and in all things detached  from the earth, and united to God alone, death was not bitter, but, on the contrary, very sweet and dear to her; since it united Her more closely to God in heaven, by an eternal bond.

Secondly, peace of mind renders the death of the just precious. Sins committed during life are the worms which so cruelly torment and gnaw the hearts of poor dying sinners, who, about to appear before the Divine tribunal, see themselves at that moment surrounded by their sins, which terrify them, and cry out, according to St. Bernard, "We are thy works; we will not abandon thee." Mary certainly could not be tormented at death by any remorse of conscience, for She was always pure, and always free from the least shade of actual or original sin; so much so, that of Her it was said: Thou are all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee (Cant. 4.7).

In the third place, the certainty of eternal salvation renders death sweet. Death is called a passage; for by death we pass from a short to an eternal life. And as the dread of those is indeed great who die in doubt of their salvation, and who approach the solemn moment with well-grounded fear of passing into eternal death; thus, on the other hand, the joy of the Saints is indeed great at the close of life, hoping with some security to go and possess God [their supreme Good] in heaven... But what joy must the Divine Mother have felt in receiving the new of Her approaching death! She who had the fullest certainty of the possession of Divine grace, especially after the Angel Gabriel had assured Her that She was full of it, and that She already possessed God. Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee... thou hast found grace (Luk. 1.28,30).

Of Mary, it had already been asked in the Sacred Canticle of Canticles, Who is She that goeth up the desert, as a pillar of smoke, of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and all the powders of the perfumers? (3.6). Her entire mortification typified by the myrrh, her fervent prayers signified by the incense, and all her holy virtues, united to Her perfect love for God, kindled in Her a flame so great that Her beautiful soul, wholly devoted to and consumed by Divine love, arose continually to God as a pillar of smoke breathing forth on every side a most sweet odor... "A pillar of smoke, because burning interiorly as a holocaust with the flame of Divine love, She sent forth a most sweet odor." As the loving Virgin lived, so did She die. As Divine love gave Her life, so did it cause her death; for the Doctors and holy Fathers of the Church generally say She died of no other infirmity than pure love; St. Ildephonsus says that Mary either ought not to die, or only die of love. - St. Alphonsus Liguori

1 comment:

  1. Today's great Feast is a strong appeal to us to live "ever intent upon heavenly things," (the Collect of today's Mass) and not to allow ourselves to be carried away by the vicissitudes and seductions of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Not only was our soul created for heaven, but also our body which, after the resurrection, will be welcomed into our heavenly home and admitted to a participation in the glory of the spirit. We contemplate today in Mary this total victory and glorification of our humanity. That which has been wholly realized in Her, will be realized for us, as well as for the saints, only at the end of time. This privilege was very befitting for Her, the all-pure, the all-holy one, whose body was never touched by even the faintest shadow of sin, but was always the temple of the Holy Ghost, and became the Immaculate tabernacle of the Son of God. It is a reminder to us to ennoble our whole life, not only that of the spirit but also that of the senses.

    Mary's Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual ascent: detachment from everything that is not God (including those not sinful in itself but even those that claim the primacy of God - without prejudice to the duties incumbent upon us by our respective state of life), flight toward God, and union with God.

    Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heaven because She was Immaculate; She was all-pure: free not only from every shadow of sin but that She also "never had the form of any creature imprinted on Her soul, nor was moved by such, but always invariably guided by the Holy Ghost" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mt. Carmel," Bk. III, Ch. 2, 10).

    The first requirement for attaining God is this total purity, the fruit of total detachment. The Blessed Virgin teaches us not to allow ourselves to be captivated by the fascination of creatures, but to live among them, without ever letting our heart become attached to them, without ever seeking our satisfaction in them.

    However, it is not enough to purify our heart from sin and all attachment to creatures, we must at the same time direct it to God, tending toward Him with all our strength. Our earthly life has for eternal life insofar as it is a flight toward God, a continual seeking after Him, a continual adherence to His grace. When this flight fails, the supernatural value of our existence lessens.

    Mary has been taken up into heaven because She is the Mother of God. This is the greatest of Her privileges, the root of all the others and the reason for them; it speaks to us, in a very special way, of intimate union with God, as the fact of Her Assumption speaks to us of the beatific union of heaven. Mary's Assumption thus confirms us in this great and beautiful truth: we are created and called to union with God. Mary Herself stretches out Her maternal hand to guide us to the attainment of this high Christian ideal. If we keep our eyes fixed on Her, we shall advance more easily; She will be our guide, our strength, and our consolation in every trial and difficulty of our Christian perfection.


Salvation is in the "Blood of the Lamb"

Apocalypse XIV now unfolding (cf., our posts "The Wine of the Wrath of God" and "After Pope Benedict XVI, the 'Last' Roman Pontiff?"). The divine chastisement of world-wide conflagration (Lk. 17.29-30, cf., our post "Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations") to annihilate the 'super-power' and cities and nations drunk with the wine of its immodesty, impurity, fornication, homosexuality, and blasphemies (Apoc. 14.8) is imminent - the close of our end-times period (distinct from the consummation of the world, Mt. 28.20).

They... have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb
(Apoc. 7.14) ... All things... are cleansed with Blood: and without shedding of Blood there is no remission (Heb. 9.22).

The Blood of the [Divine] Lamb can be availed of in the traditional Rite of the Sacrament of Penance (cf., our post "On Concealing Sins in Confession") and of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Traditional Latin Mass). Go to our traditional Catholic Mass Centers (links on the left-side bar of this site). Flee to the mountains... (Mt. 24.16).

See also the Messages and Appeals (on the upper right-side bar) of the Apocalyptic Woman in her title of Our Lady of Fatima.