Our previous few posts in this series have, essentially, built on Our Lady as the model for Christians. Made possible by her Immaculate Conception, she has proven a model of faith, a model in suffering, and a model as the Mother of the Church.
The culmination of all of this is found in the dogma of the Assumption. Pius XII teaches us that Mary “obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven”.
The Assumption is the natural fruit of Mary’s perfect discipleship, which we have already discussed. As we have also seen, this discipleship is expressed in a Eucharistic fashion. To have a truly Eucharistic faith is be in communion with Jesus. This, St. John Paul II explains, is expressed in the Assumption: “In the mystery of the Assumption is expressed the faith of the Church, according to which Mary is ‘united by a close and indissoluble bond’ to Christ, for, if as Virgin and Mother she was singularly united with him in his first coming, so through her continued collaboration with him she will also be united with him in expectation of the second”. Our Lady is perfectly united to Jesus in her life on Earth and this is expressed also with her entry into heaven, body and soul.
Ultimately, as Pope Benedict XVI explains, this is a sign that heaven is real. In Pope Benedict’s own words: “in the Assumption we see that in God there is room for man, God himself is the house with many rooms of which Jesus speaks (cf. Jn 14:2); God is man’s home, in God there is God’s space. And Mary, by uniting herself, united to God, does not distance herself from us. She does not go to an unknown galaxy, but whoever approaches God comes closer, for God is close to us all; and Mary, united to God, shares in the presence of God, is so close to us, to each one of us”.
Our Lady’s entry into heaven, and this profound union with God she experiences there, allows her to be an intercessor for all people. She has thus been granted the title “Queen of Heaven”. We will discuss this reality in our next post.