Monday, August 15, 2016
The Feast of the Assumption
The last dogma of Faith solemnly proclaimed by the Catholic Church is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in body and soul into Heaven. In order to substantiate this definition, the Magisterium took into account the consensus of the faithful, the great number of temples and pictures that honored this mystery; the dioceses and cities that bear it as their patron; the liturgical feast celebrated in its honor, since ancient times, in both the East and the West; the constant teaching of the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the doctrine of well-known theologians.
The Holy Scripture shows the Mother of the Lord always connected to the person and fate of her divine Son. Victor of the law of sin by her Immaculate Conception (a privilege that her Son conquered for her through His blood), the Faith of the Church did not hesitate to expand this solidarity of fates between them, asserting that she, just as her Son, also conquered the power of death and the corruption of the tomb.
In view of this situation, not only the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary already enjoys the vision of God: her body aslo, after a momentary dormition, shares the qualities of the glorious body of risen Christ. Her entire person: soul, body, spirit and heart, has entered triumphantly into Heaven, anticipating what the chosen hope to enjoy on the Final Day.
Popular worship usually refers to this Feast as “Transit”. It is, indeed, a transition, an Easter, a victorious progress. The mere name of the mystery reminds us that life does not stop: its immanent law is to grow, flourish and improve. Its other name, “Assumption”, proposes two ideas: our path is and ascending one, without any other limit or destiny than Heaven; and our ascension is possible because One who is stronger than us, attracts us upwards.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed body and soul into Heaven, thus becomes an icon of the Church, which moves forward with hope and unwavering nostalgia toward the joyful reunification with the Husband. Looking at this mystery, calling its name, and celebrating it implies a victorious transition from anguish to hope, from loneliness to communion, from dismay to peace, from tediousness and nausea to happiness and beauty, from temporary perspectives to certainties and eternal possessions: from death to life.
The first level in which this paschal transit should materialize is in our conversations. In our families, in our education, and in all our social communications, the elevation of the soul to those subjects and values, which just like her do not and cannot die, must open up and strengthen. Man is much more than a chain of miseries, easements and frivolities of daily life. He hungers for God, and has thirst for the infinite. Those teachers, preachers and communicators who rightly open up these spaces and enable such elevation of the soul provide an invaluable service and honor the dignity of the human being.
The second level of elevation lies in our aspirations. We tend to settle for whatever we have, instead of risking ourselves in the hope of what will come, which will be better. Celebrating the Assumption, not only every August 15, but every Fourth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, implies an ongoing commitment of excellence and spiritual aristocracy. It means leveling up, and getting used to persevere in the ascending path to Heaven. It is the law of inertia of love, that once it begins always wants more.
And the third level of elevation is rising from where our depressions lie. Those who worship the Assumption rejoice in the fact of knowing they are called to inject in our lives a vital tone of joy and optimism. Contemplating the Blessed Virgin Mary, they see themselves singing the Magnificat which announces God’s victories. They rest and recreate on the certainty that there is in Heaven a Mother who calls them by their name and covers them with her mantle.
Fr. Raúl Hasbún