Friday, August 15, 2003

A Nice Little Blog on Our Lady's Assumption

Today we celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven. Why was she granted the singular privilege of being taken up into heaven, body and soul? Well, I couldn't do much better than the Preface for today's Mass puts it:

Today the virgin Mother of God was taken up into heaven
to be the beginning and pattern of the Church in its perfection,
and a sign of hope and comfort
for your people on their pilgrim way.
You would not allow decay to touch her body,
for she had given birth to your Son, the Lord of all life,
in the glory of the incarnation.

Mary is who she is because of and for the sake of Christ and who He is. And the great dignity that is hers, and the privileges and graces she was granted, all flow from and are the result of the Incarnation. If you are to believe that God truly came among us as a real flesh-and-blood man, then the Virgin Birth, far from being a pious legend, is actually pretty much the only way the incarnation could happen. And if the God-Man born of a virgin be truly human, He had to get His human nature from the human nature of his mother (he couldn't get it from anyplace else). But that human nature had to be spotless and pure, without taint of sin. Thus you have Mary's Immaculate Conception. And given that this woman, the mother of God-made-man, is all holy and spotless, and lived her whole life as one great fiat, it would only be fitting that God, who granted her a human nature not subject to the corruption of sin, would not allow her to experience the consequence of sin's corruption, that is, the corruption of death.

The Church's belief and teaching about Mary is profoundly Incarnational, and follows quite rationally from that belief in God-made-man. To believe that Jesus was sent by God to save us and reject things like the Virgin Birth or the Assumption is to swallow a camel and strain at gnats.