Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10b; Luke 1:39-56
It is easy for me to forget when we celebrate the Assumption of our Lady that her death has been enfolded into the finality of her glorification. As for all of us—as for her Divine Son—death was a part of her life from the start.
Certainly, in each of our lives, fear manifests that presence of death in life. Isn’t it significant that the Angel Gabriel has to say, Do not be afraid, Mary? Like all of us, Mary knew the fear provoked by disrupting change pointing towards the unknown.
Against the background of these considerations, I believe it is significant that twice we read in Luke’s Gospel that Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart (Luke 2:19); and his mother kept all these things in her heart (Luke 2:51). Mary was evidently not the passive victim of her fears or the events of her life—and she had no easy life—but she embraced them, owned them, worked with them. She allowed joys, loss, the incomprehensible, the unthinkable to carve the raw material of her being into a masterpiece rather than gouging out incurable wounds or illusory expectations. Her vulnerability rendered her life porous enough to allow God’s grace, God’s life to shine through her.
Even in death, especially in death, God’s dynamism transformed her responsive being into all that a life in God could be.
What is sown is corruptible; it is raised incorruptible…It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:42b, 44). No longer weighed down by her mortality, definitions or limits, we use the image of weightless flight into the heavens as the iconography of Mary’s Assumption. The specific, historical mother of Jesus of Nazareth, in the redemptive glory of God, is transfigured into the Mother of his Mystical Body of which we are members.
Over and against the perennial presence of death, can’t she already begin to bring us to birth into the fullness of her Son’s life?