Catholics affirm that Mary was assumed into heaven because of the Church’s ancient testimony to the event and her eventual definition of that truth as dogma. But Blessed John Henry Newman points to yet another reason for believing: It was a fitting end to her life.
We accept that our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God, was assumed into heaven on the authority of age-old belief. But viewed in the light of reason, it is the fitness of this termination of her earthly course which so persuasively recom- mends it to our minds. We feel it “ought” to be, that it is “becoming” to her Lord and Son thus to provide for one who was unique and so special, both in herself and her relations to Him.
Mary is the Mother of God. She is not merely the mother of our Lord’s manhood, or of our Lord’s body, but she is to be considered the Mother of the Word himself, the Word incarnate. He took the substance of his human flesh from her and, clothed in it, he lay within her; and he bore it about with him after birth, as a sort of badge and witness that he, though God, was hers. He was nursed and tended by her; he was suckled by her; he lay in her arms. As time went on, he ministered to her and obeyed her. He lived with her for thirty years, in one house, with an uninterrupted communion, and with only the saintly Joseph to share it with him. She was the witness of his growth, of his joys, of his sorrows, of his prayers; she was blest with his smile, with the touch of his hand, with the whisper of his affection, with the expression of his thoughts and his feelings, for that length of time.
—Blessed John Henry Newman, On the Fitness of the Glories of Mary
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
When some reject the idea that Our Lady was bodily assumed into heaven, might it help them accept that truth if I could lead them to consider how fitting it was that Jesus would honor his mother this way?
Blessed Lady, it was fitting that you should not be allowed to remain in the grave. Your assumption confirms for me your Son’s promise that if I die in friendship with him, I too will one day live with him in heaven, with my earthly body transformed in glory.
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