We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand. Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary's guidance."
(Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, August 2006)
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, the fourth Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary (see also the Resurrection, Ascension, and Descent of the Holy Spirit). In praying the Rosary today, Saint Louis de Montfort (in his method of total devotion and Total Consecration to Mary) suggests the following contemplations:
Our Father: The unspeakable generosity of God.
Hail Mary: To honor the eternal predestination of Mary to be the masterpiece of God’s hands.
Hail Mary: Her Immaculate Conception and her fullness of grace and reason in the very womb of St. Anne.
Hail Mary: Her birth which gladdened the whole world.
Hail Mary: Her presentation and her abode in the temple.
Hail Mary: Her wonderful life and her exemption from all sin.
Hail Mary: Her fullness of pre-eminent virtue.
Hail Mary: Her fruitful virginity and her painless childbearing.
Hail Mary: Her divine Motherhood and her relationship with the three persons of the most holy Trinity.
Hail Mary: Her precious and loving death.
Hail Mary: Her resurrection and triumphant Assumption.
15I will put enmity between you [the serpent, Satan] and the woman [Mary], and between your offspring and hers [Christ]; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel. (Genesis, 3:15)
51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Corinithians, 51-53)
Church tradition has held the belief in the Assumption of Mary as far back as the first century, with evidence of this belief found in the apocryphal writings of Saint John the Evangelist. While this was a popular belief and devotion throughout the Church, it was not until 1950 that Pope Pius XII—following a broad council of bishops—declared the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a dogma of the Catholic Faith:
“For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma:
that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Munificentissimus Deus went on to say:
“Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”
The word “Assumption” underscores an important difference between the ascent of Jesus into Heaven and His mother’s journey. Jesus, being divine, ascended into Heaven of His own power. Mary, on the other hand, was brought to Heaven by the Lord—assumed without her control. In this manner, we see a final earthly example of the perfect trust that Mary had in the Lord, previously evident in her fiat of the Annunciation, her dangerous journey to visit Elizabeth, when she presented Jesus at the temple and was first told by Simeon and Anna about what His life would be like, and throughout her Son’s Passion and Crucifixion. As painful as her motherhood was, Mary always forgave and always believed regardless of how difficult her sufferings became.
”Then the Savior said: Let it be according to your opinion. And He ordered the archangel Michael to bring the soul of St. Mary. And, behold, the archangel Michael rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb; and the Lord said: Arise, my beloved and my nearest relation; you who hast not put on corruption by intercourse with man, suffer not destruction of the body in the sepulcher. And immediately Mary rose from the tomb, and blessed the Lord, and falling forward at the feet of the Lord, adored Him, saying: I cannot render sufficient thanks to You, O Lord, for Your boundless benefits which You have deigned to bestow upon me Thine handmaiden. May Your name, O Redeemer of the world, God of Israel, be blessed for ever.
And kissing her, the Lord went back, and delivered her soul to the angels, that they should carry it into paradise. And He said to the apostles: Come up to me. And when they had come up He kissed them, and said: Peace be to you! as I have always been with you, so will I be even to the end of the world. And immediately, when the Lord had said this, He was lifted up on a cloud, and taken back into heaven, and the angels along with Him, carrying the blessed Mary into the paradise of God. And the apostles being taken up in the clouds, returned each into the place allotted for his preaching, telling the great things of God, and praising our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in perfect unity, and in one substance of Godhead, for ever and ever. Amen.”
While the historical events of the Assumption of Mary are not recorded in the New Testament, the Bible does indicate her place in heaven. In the book of Revelation, John records his sighting of the Ark of God:
19Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. (Revelation 11:19)
John then goes on to describe the Ark as he sees it and he describes the Ark as none other than Mary-- for this woman gives birth to a Son who is none other than Jesus:
1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. (Revelation 12:1-5)
Scripture confirms what is taught by the solemn Tradition of the Church: that Mary, whose body is the Ark of the New Covenant, is in heaven.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori wrote of the Assumption of Mary:
"And now death came; not indeed clothed in mourning and grief, as it does to others, but adorned with light and gladness. But what do we say? Why speak of death? Let us rather say that divine love came, and cut the thread of that noble life. And as a light, before going out, gives a last and brighter flash than ever, so did this beautiful creature, on hearing her Son's invitation to follow him, wrapped in the flames of love, and in the midst of her loving sighs, give a last sigh of still more ardent love, and breathing forth her soul, expired. Thus was that great soul, that beautiful dove of the Lord, loosened from the bands of this life; thus did she enter into the glory of the blessed, where she is now seated, and will be seated, Queen of Paradise, for all eternity."
Let us now consider how our Savior went forth from heaven to meet his Mother. On first meeting her, and to console her, he said: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come, for winter is now past and gone. (Liguori uses the imagery from the Song of Songs 2:10) Come, my own dear Mother, my pure and beautiful dove; leave that valley of tears, in which, for my love, you have suffered so much. Come from Lebanon, my spouse, come from Lebanon, come: You shall be crowned. (Songs of Songs 4:8) Come in, soul and body, to enjoy the reward of your holy life. If your sufferings have been great on earth, far greater is the glory which I have prepared for you in heaven. Enter, then, that kingdom, and take your seat near me; come to receive that crown which I will bestow on you as Queen of the universe.”
Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity.
Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity.
Teach me how small Earth becomes when viewed from Heaven.
Make me realize that death is the triumphant Gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of Heaven.
From this Earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help.
When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.
Mother of Christ and Mother of all peoples, we ask for your protection and your intercession.
Pray to your Son for us, to send the Holy Spirit in abundance, the Spirit of Truth who is the source of Life. Welcome the Spirit for us and with us as you did on the feast of Pentecost with the first disciples.
Mother you know and share our sufferings and hopes.
Today we entrust the whole world to you.
We pray for you to accompany us on our path.
Like John the Apostle, we wish to accept you into our homes, to learn from you how to resemble Jesus.
We entrust all our people to you, starting with those who are the weakest and who suffer the most: the unborn children, those whose life is menaced, those born in poverty, the young people searching for a sense to their life, the refugees, the unemployed, those tried by sickness, the families who are divided, elderly persons deprived of assistance and all those who are alone and without hope.
May the infinite saving power of Redemption rise up once more in the history of the world, the power of the Merciful Love of the Father!
May the Holy Spirit transform consciences!
May He heal our memories and purify our hearts. May the Lord always reign among us, He who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
Year 2: Day 227 of 365
Prayer Intentions: For true devotion and consecration to Our Blessed Mother.
Requested Intentions: For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C); Financial assistance and employment (B); For a family’s intentions (T); Successful examination results (B); Healing of a friend with cancer, for all those who help others (B); Healing and love (L); Grace and healing (V); Healing of a heart, consecration of a marriage (M); Health of a family, intentions of apostolate (H); For repentance (J); For a family in trouble (R); Healing, successful relationships for son, financial success (J); Success of a company (L); For a religious society (J); Healing of a husband, strength as a faithful caregiver (D); Healing of a son (T); Financial security, Healing and guidance (M); Healing of a heart and relationship (V); Employment for daughter (J); For a marriage that glorifies the Lord (K); Resolution of family situation, parents’ health (A); Positive results (C); For a son’s employment, faith, and relationships (S).