Honoring Our Heavenly Mother

Honoring Our Heavenly Mother

Many Protestants who convert to Catholicism first have to overcome mistaken beliefs or ideas that made them uncomfortable—and often these involve the Blessed Virgin Mary. One Evangelical named Jonathan struggled with the Church’s teaching that Our Lady was assumed, or taken up into Heaven, both soul and body; his concern was that if this was true, why did the Church wait until 1950 to formally declare this dogma? Thinking about it, however, he realized that even in the earliest centuries, no one ever claimed to have relics from, or parts of Mary’s body, or even to know where she was buried. Also, as he thought about it, it made sense to think that if God were to become man in the Person of Jesus, He would want a perfectly sinless woman as His Mother—and if she were perfectly sinless, there would be no reason why her body couldn’t enter immediately into Heaven upon her death (unlike everyone else, each being affected by original sin). Jonathan came to realize that the Church’s teaching on the Assumption was not only logical, but truly good news—for it’s a promise that if we trust in Jesus to cleanse and save us from our sins, we can confidently look forward to living one day in heavenly glory with Jesus and His Mother (Evangelical  Exodus, ed. Douglas M. Beaumont, pp. 196-197).

As Our Lady proclaims in the Gospel of Luke (1:39-56), God had looked upon His servant in her lowliness, choosing her to be the Mother of the Savior. Mary is indeed the woman clothed with the sun described in the Book of Revelation (11:19, 12:1-6, 10) and, as St. Paul teaches (1 Corinthians 15:20-27), at the end of the world all the righteous shall be brought to life through Christ, but in proper order. Because the Virgin Mary was the first to worship and serve her Son, she—quite rightly—has already been given a place of glory in His Kingdom.     

Our human bodies are part of God’s creation—corrupted and made subject to death by original sin, but still fundamentally something good and valuable. The Assumption of Our Lady reminds us that God is capable of purifying, perfecting, and redeeming not only our souls, but also our bodies. Even though they will eventually wither and decay after our death, returning to the dust from which we were made, at the Last Judgment our bodies will be raised up, remade, and reunited with our souls, entering into the perfect new life our Mother Mary already experiences. This is a reason to give thanks, and also to praise God for His mercy and love. Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven is a solemn promise that all our earthly trials and burdens will one day cease, all our efforts and sacrifices will in the end be rewarded, and all our prayers and hopes for the future will at the end of history be fulfilled. On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we honor our Heavenly Mother for her great victory; let us also please and honor her by recommitting ourselves to loving, serving, and following her Son. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by
Fr Joseph Esper