We celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven this past Tuesday, August 15. This solemnity is always observed on August 15, and is a Holy Day of Obligation (except when it falls on Saturday or Monday in the Dioceses of the U.S.). Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, is rightfully honored by the Church because she was first honored by God. She was preserved from the stain of original sin (which we commemorate on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8). By the power of the Holy Spirit she conceived the Savior of the world within her womb. She was the first and most perfect disciple of the Lord. She stood at the foot of the Cross at His crucifixion. The Solemnity of Mary’s Assumption acknowledges and celebrates the fitting end of her life on this earth: namely, that at the end of her life on earth she was assumed body and soul into heaven by the power of God. Eastern Rite Catholics and Orthodox Christians refer to this feast as the Dormition of Mary, that is, her “falling asleep”. The belief of the Catholic Church is that Mary never suffered the corruption of her body, but that she was taken to heaven while still alive (or perhaps, at the very moment of death). This feast of Mary, like all the Marian feasts, is another way of recognizing the saving work which God has brought about through His (and Mary’s) Son, Jesus Christ. Mary, as the best disciple – as the one who cooperated most perfectly with God’s Grace – fittingly should be the first to enjoy everlasting life in heaven.
May God bless you!