Next Wednesday is the Assumption of Mary, when we celebrate the fact that God brought Mary into heaven body and soul, meaning that there are only two people in heaven in their bodies, Mary and Jesus. Normally, death means that our soul leaves our bodies. At the moment of death, we are personally judged by God and go to our final reward, heaven, hell, or purgatory. At the end of time, when Jesus comes again, we will all be reunited with our bodies and then there will be the general judgement which is spoken of in Matthew 25 with the separation of the sheep from the goats.
It’s hard for a lot of people to believe that the Blessed Virgin was actually, in fact, brought into heaven body and soul. Most people think of it as simple religious piety or as a myth made up by the Church. However, the apparitions of Mary and the miracles that accompany them throughout the centuries have shown that the Church’s teachings on Mary are true. For example the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego in 1531 and the miraculous image left on the tilma (St. Juan Diego’s cloak), which no science can explain. Also, the apparition of Mary to St. Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858 and the miraculous healings at the spring there. Then, the apparition of Mary in Fatima in 1917 to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta and the miracle of the sun that happened there and was seen by tens of thousands of people.
The assumption of Mary is a sign of hope to us that we, too, can go where she’s gone. It’s easy to believe that Jesus ascended bodily to heaven, because He’s God, but think about what that means. It means that there’s a human being sitting at the right hand of God on the throne of glory. In Christ, humanity is fully united to God, and the Blessed Mother shows us what that means for us. If Mary was brought into heaven, then we can also be brought into heaven, body and soul, if we follow her advice. She tells us the same thing she told the waiters at the wedding feast at Cana, “Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you” (John 2:5).
Next Week: Parish School of Religion
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.