The Assumption: a new celebration of Easter

In the middle of summer, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a new celebration of Easter. A woman, our sister, one of us, is admitted to share fully in the glory of the risen Christ. The woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Re 12:1) shines as a brilliant light. She is dressed with the light of God, with a garment of glory. The love of the Father for his eternal Son, that is the very glory of the Triune God, dwells in Mary’s soul and marvellously clothes her body. God, who according to Saint John “is light” (I Jn 1:5), is himself the beauty and the glory of his beloved creature. Mary lives, in her soul and in her body, the very life of her Son, the risen Christ ascended at the right hand of the Father. She has reached the fullness of love and presents herself to us as sign of hope, while drawing us to her Son.
At Easter, Christ “has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” in death (1 Cor 15.20). He has conquered sin and death, and Mary is associated with his triumph. In her Immaculate Conception, she has been saved from sin by a privilege of preservation. In her Assumption, she is saved from death and admitted to a full partaking in the grace of the resurrection. In Mary, the grace of Easter, the grace of salvation and divinisation, is fully accomplished.

We would have a certain right to be jealous of Mary, were she not both our future and our mother.

Mary is our future. We are shown in her the perfection of salvation that God wishes to realise in all his children. She is the creature free in the grace of God. She is taken up by God into God, and she finds herself perfectly adapted to the glory of God, to the fullness of his love. On the day of our baptism, we were freed from original sin. In the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist, we receive liberation from all our actual sins and union with the life of our Saviour. The divine life in our souls is destined to grow till we reach the full maturity of Christ: perfection of charity in this life, resurrection of our body in the next. On this way towards sanctity, Mary, icon of our future, is a sign of hope.

Mary is also our mother. She, who has been fully saved, is also fully involved in the work of salvation. She is present and active in the life of her brothers and sisters. Christ “always lives to make intercession” for us (He 7.25). Similarly, Mary intercedes without ceasing for the Church. According to the Constitution Lumen Gentium, “This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers, until they are led into the happiness of their true home.” (LG 62)

That is why Mary is also our joy. Salvation brings joy: the joy of God in his saved creature, the joy of the creature in the Redeemer. Mary is God’s joy and teaches us, by her example of humility and obedience, to become God’s joy. Mary is our joy: in her, the victory of mercy and love is supreme.
The more we draw near to God, the more we rejoice in Mary. The more we entrust ourselves to Mary, the more we receive the gratuitous gift of her joy: the joy of Easter, the joy of heaven.

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