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Assumption: Could the dwelling place of the Word be given to worms?


Titian | Public Domain

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP - published on 10/31/19

In this month of the Rosary, take a moment to reflect on the Fourth Glorious Mystery.
It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. – St. John Damascene

What son, enjoying paradise, free from death and corruption, would not take his own Mother there to join him? On the natural level, it’s fairly straightforward to understand how any son, if it were in his power, would take his mother to enjoy any good thing. If this love can be imagined on the natural level, how much more so it must belong to the privileged order of grace which defines the relationship of the Lord and his Blessed Mother!

All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters,her raiment threaded with gold;In embroidered apparel she is led to the king.The maids of her train are presented to the king.They are led in with glad and joyous acclaim;they enter the palace of the king. (Psalm 45:14-16)

Our Lady’s assumption into heaventhat is, the claim that God took her body and soul to dwell with himis simply a logical consequence of every other particular grace which God affords the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pope Pius XII says, “She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.”

Death is the punishment of sin. She who was preserved from the stain of original sin, thereby heralding the coming graces of the cross, was also preserved from its penalty.

One extraordinary title of the Virgin Mary is Foederis arca. She is the Ark of the Covenant, the vessel which embodies the promises of God. God is faithful, and he sent his only Son into this world, who made his dwelling place first in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Considering the fate of her body, St. Robert Bellarmine asks, “And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”

Glorious things have happened to the Virgin Mary during her life, could God care no less for her at the hour of death?

Since Mary did not face the corruption of the tomb, and now enjoys the company of the saints, she is a marvelous sign of hope for the Christian people. She has gone before, and we might follow after. Mary, the first and greatest disciple, carries this greatest honor of discipleship. She follows the Lord to his eternal dwelling place, and we, dare to hope that we might too might attend to everlasting glory. 


Read more:
The Assumption helps us understand what we are as humans, suggests Pope Francis

The Virgin Mary now enjoys the banquet feast of the Lamb. She sees the splendor of the face of God, a mystery which only Moses had approached in days of old. Caught up in the rapturous rejoicing of the angels and the melodies of the choirs of heaven, Mary today delights, in both body and soul, in everlasting glory.


Read more:
Do I believe in the resurrection of the dead?

During the month of October, Aleteia is offering a short reflection on each of the 20 mysteries of the Rosary. Follow it here.

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