Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. This mystery, celebrated for centuries in the Church, was solemnly defined as a dogma of faith by Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus on November 1, 1950. The dogma is this: “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” (n. 44) The entire document can be found on the Vatican web site <w2.vatican.va>. Go to Pope Pius XII and click on “Apostolic Constitutions.” This document presents the historical evidence of this doctrine as an accepted element of Catholic faith and the justification for its solemn definition.
Belief in the Assumption of Mary is a corollary to her Immaculate Conception. Pope Pius XII states that she, “by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.” (n. 5)
Our belief in the Assumption of Mary is also a corollary of our belief in the resurrection of the body, as we profess in the Apostles’ Creed. In her bodily Assumption into heaven, Mary has become “the beginning and image of [the] Church’s coming to perfection and a sign of sure hope and comfort to [God’s] pilgrim people.” (Preface for the Assumption) All this is rooted in the fundamental Christian belief that “just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,” as Saint Paul states in today’s Second Reading.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary was a privilege from God in anticipation of her unique role as Mother of the Redeemer; her bodily assumption into heaven is the consequence of the sanctification of her body as the “tabernacle of the Most High” and her lifelong fidelity as the “handmaid of the Lord.” Blessed indeed is she who believed that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled. (Cf. today’s Gospel)
You may have seen on the news that there was severe weather near Boscobel, Wisconsin, including tornados. Boscobel is about 20 miles south of my home farm. I was anxious to get down home to see if there was any damage there. Fortunately there was not. The two creeks that flow through our farm showed evidence of high water, but had not overflowed. My rain gauge showed only 3½ inches of rain. I was also anxious to see the condition of the grain shocks, since I already had to reset them after a previous storm with a lot of wind. I was happy to find them still standing! By this time they are pretty well set and do not go down easily. That’s the reason for making them. Now we just need a few days of dry weather at a time when I can get down there again to get them loaded, off the ground, and under cover. September 6 is still the target date for threshing.
Pray the rosary this week for people who have been affected by severe weather near and far, and those affected by the devastating wildfires in the west. Let us be grateful for all of our blessings, and pray that we may be kept safe from severe weather and damaging storms. As always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.