by Father Ronan Murphy
On the Feast of the Assumption, the Holy Mother Church is pulling aside the curtain and showing us the reward that awaits us at the end of our lives, if we are faithful. The Church is saying to us, “You know all those promises that Jesus made in the Gospel about eternal life. Well! They’re going to come true, and as proof behold your Mother Mary because in her they have already come true.”
In the book of Revelation, the Lord says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on His throne.” Grace is always freely given by God, but God also wants us to freely accept it. The Blessed Virgin Mary whose feast we celebrate on August 15th, was gloriously assumed body and soul into heaven and is now seated with her Son on his throne for making the greatest response to the greatest invitation of grace in the history of the world.
Mary has been given a unique privilege of not seeing the decay of the grave at the end of her life. At the end of her life, her body and soul were taken into heaven to share in the everlasting life of her son Jesus Christ. One day we are going to see her and are going to embrace her, as we will Christ and enjoy life with them and with one another forever if we too are faithful.
Jesus stood at the door of Mary’s heart and knocked, and she heard his voice and opened the door to him. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Mary heard it so faithfully and kept it so faithfully that the Word himself was conceived within her womb, thus becoming the Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark in the Old Testament was a prefigurement of Mary. Why? Because in the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant contained three things: It contained the Law or the Ten Commandments or the Word of God inscribed on the two tablets of stone; it contained a vessel with some of the Manna that God sent from Heaven to feed the Israelites in the desert and lastly it contained the staff of Aaron the High Priest. In the New Testament, Mary became the Ark of the New Covenant because in her was contained Jesus Christ himself who is the Lawgiver, the word becomes flesh, the true Bread of Life come down from Heaven and the Eternal High Priest. According to St. John in the book of Revelation, he saw the heavens opened and saw the Ark of the Covenant alluding to Mary’s assumption into heaven where she dwells body and soul for all eternity.
Jesus also stands at the door of our hearts and knocks as he did with His Mother. And, if we too hear his voice and obey it faithfully, we too like Mary shall be seated one day on her Son’s throne. Mary is our road map to that blessed state of grace. She will help us to find in Christ the path to the Father’s house. I’ve heard some people say, “I’ll go straight to Jesus without Mary,” which is like saying, “I’ll go to the Father without Jesus.” He who seeks Jesus without Mary tries to fly to Him without wings. Just as Jesus is the infallible way to the Father, Mary is the infallible way to the Son. The Justice of the Father has determined that the sufferings and the death of his Son are to pay for our redemption. The love of the heart of the son has determined that His Mother is to bring us to salvation. Assumed into heaven, Mary did not lay aside her maternal and saving role but in fact, she exercises it in a much greater way now that she is in heaven. As St. Alphonsus said, “In heaven, Mary knows our needs even better and her power to help us is even greater.”
And so, on the feast of her Glorious Assumption, I encourage you to renew your devotion to Mary, Mediatrix of God’s saving grace, for as Mother of Jesus and our Mother, she has the power and the means to help us be faithful to God’s Holy Will, to respond to all God’s Graces so that when our life’s journey has ended, Jesus will say to us, “Thou hast been faithful unto death, receive now the crown of everlasting life.” It is then that our death, too, like Mary’s will be swallowed up in victory.
O death where is your victory?
O death where is your sting?
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
by the intercession of Mary.
Father Murphy is the Coordinator for Marian Devotions of the Diocese of Brooklyn.