My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Recently I read an article on icons. It is interesting to understand these images that come from the Eastern tradition and which contain in themselves its whole theology.
For example, the clothing of Jesus and Mary are represented with the same colors, red and blue, but they are reversed in that Jesus usually has a red tunic and a blue mantle while Our Lady usually has a blue dress and a red mantle.
Why, you might ask? The red is a symbol of divinity, while blue is a symbol of humanity. In this way, it can be said that Jesus is God made man, while Our Lady instead is a human creature that has been in a certain sense divininized.
Again, while Jesus is represented with His feet uncovered placed directly on the earth, Our Lady instead has shoes which she has placed lightly on her feet. This expresses the same concept, in that Jesus is the Word of God Incarnate, true man like us in all things except sin, while Our Lady is a human creature through and through because, by supernatural grace and her faithful response to grace, she is raised above the Earth.
Truly, icons are wonderful works of art. Some have even called them “windows into heaven” because they so clearly express spiritual and theological truths that become schools of Christian learning.
On Aug. 15, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady assumed into heaven at the end of her earthly life. This special privilege conceded by God by exception is an anticipation of the ultimate destiny of all humankind. We know that God has conceded this privilege to her because she was conceived without sin. Because of her immaculate conception her body did not have to undergo the corruption of death.
Mary — Model of Living and Dying
Certainly, the Assumption is a truth of our faith of which much can be said. It is celebrated because, in a certain sense, Mary, through her Assumption, calms the fears of all of her children. The ultimate reality of death at times confronts us all. Mary becomes our model of living and dying in that in her death she is assumed into heaven anticipating and participating in the resurrection of her divine Son. It is that resurrection in which we all hope to participate some day.
Some day, our own deaths will put us out into the deep of eternity. The Feast of Mary’s Assumption gives us the comfort of knowing that one human being experienced the resurrection won for us by Jesus her Son.
This mid-summer feast day is both a blessing and a comfort.