“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.” –Pius XII.
The collect prayer of the Mass of the Assumption says: “Almighty, Everlasting God, who did receive the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy divine Son, body and soul into the glory of heaven; grant we beseech Thee, that aiming always at the things above, we may be worthy to be partakers of her glory.” Yes, we should desire to be partakers of her glory! This privilege of bodily assumption into Heaven, so that we may be, forever, with our whole person, body and soul, united to God in happiness – this is promised to each one of us, in a similar manner, if we are worthy.
Worthiness consists, as the prayer says, in aiming always at the things above. The time of our lives is a preparation for Heaven. Now is the time for good works, and for prayer – for all that will direct us towards Heaven. Now is not the time to give importance to merely earthly concerns, idleness, or worse – to sin.
We are to work during our time on earth to store up merits for Heaven. In all circumstances, this means to do God’s will, cheerfully. Love God above all things, and love your neighbour as yourself for the love of God. This is Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat: “My soul does magnify the Lord.” Most of us are lazy. We should do more good works, we should spend more time (quality time) at prayer, and we should especially do more penance, lest we appear on the Day of Judgment, empty-handed.
Mary’s Assumption flows from her Immaculate Conception; for this reason she is called Immaculate. This word may also be translated as “spotless”, and it refers to the spotless beauty of our Lady’s soul, which was not marred by and sin or voluntary imperfection. Mary was always Immaculate, from her conception, but this does not mean that she was not tempted to sin. Surely she was tempted, since even our Lord was tempted. It is virtuous to resist temptation. It is a difficult practice of virtue, since it requires self-denial. But our Lady practiced this virtue in all temptations, so that she remained Immaculate. She had the strength to practice virtue by a special help of God, such as we all have from our baptism and confirmation: the gift of the Holy Ghost, called fear of the Lord. It is to this that our Lady referred at the end of the Magnificat: God’s “mercy is from generation to generation to them that fear Him.” A holy fear helps us to anticipate punishment if we should offend God, so that we will be mindful not to offend Him.
The Immaculate Virgin was always careful not to offend God in any matter. She is a great hero for us to emulate: if we would partake of her glory, we must also aim always at the things which are above. Make good use of time, work now to acquire merits for Heaven, avoid sin, and fear to offend God in any matter. Pray to our Lady, who like her divine Son has gone before us into Heaven, that she may help us to follow. One day, after death and judgment, we also hope to be found worthy to be partakers, body and soul, in the glory of Heaven.