Friday, August 15, 2008

Assumption 2008

John Paul II wrote: "The truth of the Assumption, defined by Pius XII, is reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which thus expresses the Church's faith: 'Preserved free from all guilt of original sin, the Immaculate Virgin was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory upon the completion of her earthly sojourn. she was exalted by the Lord as Queen of the Universe, in order that she might be the more thoroughly conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rev. 19, 16) and the conqueror of sin and death.'In this teaching Poius XII was in continuity with Tradition, which has found many different expressions in the history of the Church, both in the East and in the West.

"By the mystery of the Assumption into heaven there were definitively accomplished in Mary all the efects of the one mediation of Christ the Redeemer of the world and Risen Lord: Ín Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at this coming those who belong to christ'(1 Cor. 5, 22-23). In the mystery of the Assumption is expressed the faith of the Church, according to which Mary is únited by a close and indissoluble bond to Christ, for, if as Virgin and Mother she was singlarly 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; 'redeemed in an especially sublime manner by reason of the merits of her Son,' she also has that specifically maternal role of mediatrix of mercy at his final coming, when all those who belong to Christ 'shall be made alive,'when 'the last enemy to be destroyed is death'(1 Cor. 15, 26)."

"Connected with this exaltation of the noble 'Daughter of Sion' through her Assumption into heaven is the mystery of her eternal glory. For the Mother of Christ is glorified as 'Queen of the Universe.' She who at the Annunciation called herself the 'handmaid of the Lord' remained throughout her earthly life faithful to what this name experesses. In this she confirmed that she was a true 'disciple' of Christ, who strongly emphasized that his mission was one of service: the Son of Man 'came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Mt. 20, 28). In this way Mary became the first of those who, 'serving Christ also in others, with humility and patince lead their brothers and sisters to that King whom to serve is to reign,' and she fully obtained that 'state of royal freedom' proper to Christ's discipels: to serve means to reign!" (Redemptoris Mater #41).

Now, this assmuption of our Lady is not of the soul. It is of the whole person. And our Lady is assumed into God because she is loved.

Joseph Ratzinger said: "Our eternity is based on his love. Anyone whom God loves never ceases to be. In him in his thinking and loving, it is not just a shadow of us that continues in being; rather, in him and his creative love we ourselves, with all that we are and all that is most ourselves, are preserved immortally and forever in being.

"It is his love that makes us immortal. This love guarantees our immortality, and it is this love that we call 'heaven.' Heaven is simiply the fact that God is great enought to have room even for us miniscule beings. And the man Jesus, who is also God, is our everlasting pledge that man and God can forever exist and live in easch other. If we grasp this truth, then, I think, we will also have some insight into what the odd words, 'bodily assumption into heavenly glory,' mean."

"The Assumption cannot mean, of course, that some bones and corpuscles of blood are forever preserved somewhere. It means something much more imporotant and profound. To wit: that what contineiues to exist is not just a part of a human being - the partwhich we call the soul abnd which is separated out from the whole - while so much else is annihilated. It means rather that God knows and loves the entire person which we now are. The immortal is that which is now growing and developing in our present life. The i9mortal is that which is developoing in this body of ours wherein we hope and rejoice, feel sadness, and move forward through time; that which is developing now in our present life with its present conditions. In other words, what is imperishable is whatever we have become in our present bodily state; whatever has developed and grown in us, in our present life, among and by means of the things of this world. It is this 'whole man,' as he has existed and lived and suffered in this world, that will one day be transformed by God's eternity and be eternal in God himself....

"Nothing of what is precious and valuable to us will be lost. Christ said on one occasion that 'the hairs of your head are all numbered' (Mt. 10, 30). The final and abiding world will be the fulfillment of this earth of ours. Thus the point we noted at the beginning is once again made clear: that Christianity is not a religion focused on the past, a religion forever changing us to something that took place once upon a time, but a religion of hope in what is to come. It is a religion that opens the way for us into the future, into the definitive and abiding creation. Precisely as Christians we are called upon to build our world and to work for its future, so that it may beecome God's world, a world far transcending anything we could build by our own powers" (Dogma and Preaching, Franciscan Herald Press [1985] 116.-117]).

The Kingdom of God is here and now as Christ, the God-man. Insofar as we become Christ, we are that Kingdom which will endure forever because we have been and are loved. "You are worth more than many sparrows."

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