Who is the woman who goes with haste in the hill country? She is a mother, a humble mother. Mary encounters Elisabeth and, overwhelmed by the joy of salvation, she sings the praises of God. Mary is full of joy, as a young mother, full of joy as a loving help to her cousin. She shares in the joy of Elisabeth as well as in John’s. The Spirit is in each of the two women and upon their children; He is between them all, and He goes forth from them: Spirit of joy and hope because the Salvation has come, because the Saviour will soon be born, because the Father revealed his Love by giving his Son to the world as its Saviour (cf. Jn 3:16).
Who is the woman in heaven? She is a mother, a beautiful mother. She is fully assumed in the light of God: sun, moon and stars are the jewels of her beauty. But at the same time, she is suffering in the pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. A child is to be born, but the Enemy is waiting to devour him. All is fight and war. It is the last hour, the last fight and the ultimate war against the Devil. But the child is “caught up to God and to his throne”, while the woman flies “in the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God”.
This woman is the Church giving birth to the children of God among the sufferings and the fights of the last times. Among tribulations and persecutions, she continues the work of Mary at the foot of the cross, when she stood near her Son. By her loving sacrifice, she took part in the fight and in the victory of divine Love over sin, death and hell. At that very moment, she was made by Jesus, mother of the disciples to be adopted as children of God. The Church of the Cross is the Church of the sacraments in which the Spirit of God gives fruitfulness to the constant offering of the faithful of all that they are, all the good they do and all the pains they suffer. The Church is a mother who gives life through the joys and the sufferings of her members.
We could also say that the woman in heaven is Mary. She is the mother of the Son who sits on the throne of the Father, Christ the King “who rules all the nations”. She flew “to the place prepared by God” in order to intercede for the Church and to work with her Son to the salvation of the world. Her Assumption in heaven is a sign of complete salvation, but also a call to an utter commitment to the work of her Son. He is always interceding for us. She does not cease to pray for us. The more she is in God, the more she is for us.
Mary and the Church are one in the mystery of birth: birth of Jesus, the Son of God made flesh; birth of the children of God called to share in the divine nature by the grace of baptism. That is why we feel such joy and hope today! The portent in heaven is a sign of salvation: through the sufferings, God’s love conquers victory; he gives birth to a new world, utterly assumed in the Love of the Father for the Son.
In our sufferings, but also in communion in prayer with the awful sufferings of so many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, let us invoke the name of Mary and gaze at her in humble and joyful hope!