On Saturday, August 15th, we celebrate an important solemnity of our Church. It is typically a holy day of obligation, but this year it is not because it falls on Saturday. As a Church, we celebrate the truth that Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven by Jesus at the end of her earthly life. Why do we believe this as a Church, and why is it essential for us to know this truth?
First, I would like to point you to the Catechism. In Paragraph 966 it says, ” Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of Lords and Conqueror of sin and death. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians.” What is the Church saying in this statement? The Church says that Mary was taken body and soul into heaven when her earthly life was finished. The Church also says that this is a foreshadowing of what will happen to us at the end of time. Jesus will bring his chosen people into heaven, body and soul.
Mary’s last day is unique because she was taken immediately into heaven and didn’t face the corruption of the tomb. All of us, before the resurrection of the body, will spend time in the grave as our bodies await its resurrection. However, because of Mary’s unique role in God’s plan, she was taken up body and soul into heaven before the resurrection of the body. Jesus, who loved his mother, didn’t want her to see the corruption of the tomb.
The scriptures point to this fact as well. Revelation 12:1-2 states that a woman clothed with the sun appears in heaven. It isn’t clear that this woman is Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, many of the signs in the passage and many in the Church have made this connection. For me, there is enough to say that Mary is the woman clothed with the Sun as stated in the book of Revelation.
Our Blessed Mother is the most powerful intercessor for us in heaven. Not only because she is the mother of Jesus but because she is also in heaven, body and soul. This is important for us to know and believe because the path Mary took is the same path we will take at the end of time. When Jesus comes again, he will take us too into heaven, body and soul. By believing this about Mary we can realize and believe that one day we too will be taken body and soul into heaven.