To evoke Mary’s Assumption, the liturgy provides us today with a vision, a catechesis, and a song.
The woman in the light, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars”, is a stunning spectacle. All varieties of natural light are concentrated on and around this woman while she remains perfectly herself. She was the hidden one, the humble servant of Nazareth, the loving and silent mother of Bethlehem, the faithful follower of Jesus to the cross, the discrete mother of the Church on the day of Pentecost. Now she appears in the fulness of light. What a fascinating encounter between light created on the first day and the woman created on the last! Light does not enlighten her from outside, but clothes her. Light is her garment because she is full of the Creator’s illuminating presence. In her Assumption, Mary dawns over the world as ‘Stella matutina’, the Morning Star. She looks over the tempests of our history as ‘Stella Maris’, the Star of the Sea. She is a great sign of hope through whom God let us glimpse the light of the world to come.
Saint Paul’s catechesis is about the resurrection. In her Assumption in heaven, Mary is filled with the life of the risen Christ. As the Immaculate Conception, Mary had already received the grace of the perfect victory over sin by a singular anticipation of the victory of life over death to be achieved in Christ’s Resurrection. In her Assumption, the privilege of her soul is extended to her body. The woman who stood at the foot of the cross and expected in faith the resurrection of Christ is now made partaker of the incorruptible life of resurrection. God’s dominion over her is total. Whilst remaining a human creature, she is elevated to the glory of divine life. And her Assumption is a direct fruit of the victory over sin and death which Jesus achieved through his Passion and Resurrection. God’s gift of grace to Mary in her Immaculate Conception is fulfilled on the glorious day of her Assumption. These unique favours both manifest the saving power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus, the new Adam, makes Mary partaker of His victory and shows her to the Church as the New Eve, the Mother of the Church in whom we are all called to the grace of re-creation through partaking of Christ’s cross and resurrection.
The Magnificat is the song the creature assumed in the full light of her Creator, who celebrates the grace of salvation of sin and death in Christ. It is Mary’s song and it is ours. It is the Church’s. Mary ascending into heaven is like a voice lifted up, a song soaring in the light of a glorious day. In her soul and body, the gift of light produces life, life gives birth to words of praise, and praise calls for music. Mary’s music is a melody attuned to the grace of God. The harmony of her soul and her body in the resurrection echoes the deepest harmonies of the cosmos created by God as a canticle of praise and saved in Christ. The world re-created by God’s mercy finds in Mary its voice of gratitude. In Mary, in her soul and in her body which God’s glory pervades, God’s creation resumes its harmonious celebration of God’s glory. This glory is not a static perfection, but a peaceful and powerful exchange of life, light and love. Today, in the light and glory of the Resurrection of her Son, Mary sings in all her being, with all her heart, God’s grace and His mercies. With her, full of hope, our soul magnifies the Lord and rejoices in God our Saviour because, still in the shadows of our broken world, we are already given to see the light of incorruptible life and to hear the sound of eternal music.