Devotion to Our Lady
This Thursday 15th August is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven. Venerable Pope Pius XII defined this as a dogma of the Faith on 1st November 1950 when he said,
“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Although Our Lady’s Assumption is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, the Church, as far back as we can remember has always believed it and celebrated the feast. So when Pope Pius XII defined the dogma, he was merely confirming what the Church had always believed for nearly 2,000 years. By doing so, he put to rest any doubts about it, and therefore, as Catholics, we must believe it.
Note that the Pope said Mary was taken up to Heaven body and soul. The saints in Heaven at this moment do not have bodies, although there will be the bodily resurrection at the end of time. Mary was conceived without Original Sin and so she is the Immaculate Conception. She is God’s masterpiece and never committed a sin during her earthly life and so her body suffered no decay. The tradition is that after her death, St Thomas arrived in Jerusalem too late to see Our Lady buried in her tomb, but he really wanted to see her body. When the tomb was opened, nothing was found there except her grave clothes because she had already been taken up to Heaven. It is notable that while there are many relics of the bodies of the saints, no one has ever claimed to have relics of Our Lady.
Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces which means all graces come through her. We need her if we are to get to Heaven, so we must have a devotion to her. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) said, “Nothing at all of that great grace which the Lord brought to us is imparted except through Mary.” This is quite logical because JESUS who is the source and author of all grace came to us through Mary. So pray to her. Say her Rosary, wear her medal, wear the Brown Scapular and have a statue or picture of her in your homes. The devil has no power over Mary because she has already crushed his head. Make sure you are under her protection. “Hail Mary, full of grace.”
Fr Paul Gillham, IC