By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful.
Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon.
We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand.
Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary’s guidance.
—Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, August 16, 2006
The Assumption of Mary brings our eyes upward toward Heaven, toward the reality that something greater than this world awaits us.
Mary was without sin, but she still lived in a world filled with suffering and sin. She willingly took on the burden of enduring great sorrows for our sake, even though she herself was pure and innocent. We live in a world where bad things happen to good people, and living virtuously is no insurance against pain. Sometimes we might feel discouraged that despite our efforts to do good, our lives can still be difficult and rocky. Mary’s Assumption, however, gives us a glimpse of the reward to come after this life of suffering. The only two human beings who lived entirely without sin—Jesus and Mary—faced enormous suffering in their lives, more than any other person who has ever walked the face of the earth. But they both received a glorious reception into Heaven. Mary may have endured many sorrows in this life, but all of her sacrifices, small and large, were not overlooked by God. Upon her death, she was raised in glory. Throughout her life, she gave her whole self to God, body and soul—and in return for her perfect love He welcomed her, body and soul, into Heaven. Her relationship with God is the ideal toward which we all strive.
Mary went ahead of us on the journey, and she actively seeks to lead us in her footsteps. United fully with God, Mary is able to act powerfully in our own lives. In Heaven, she is capable of being a mother to the whole human race. We can take comfort in knowing that our Mother is there ahead of us, and if we cling to her, she will pull us upward in her ascent.
Image: Ludwig von Löfftz, Himmelfahrt Mariens / PD-US