The Fourth Glorious MysteryThe Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven
1. The Fourth Book of Kings tells us that the prophet Elias was brought up into Heaven in a fiery chariot without having first endured the pains and humiliation of death. (Cf. 4 Kings 2:11) Why did God not do likewise in the case of the Blessed Virgin, commanding His Angels to bear her to Heaven before death struck her innocent body? As St. Paul says, it was sin which caused death to enter the world. From the moment of her conception Mary was free from the slightest taint of sin, for she was immaculate and full of grace. Nevertheless, according to the most widely held tradition, Mary chose to die even as her divine Son had willed to die. Jesus “was offered because it was his own will.” (Is. 53:7) The same is true in Mary’s case, with only this difference. Jesus died a cruel death after the most hideous tortures in the midst of a blaspheming and hate-ridden mob. Nothing like this happened to Mary, although she is called the Queen of Martyrs because of the sword which pierced her soul at the sight of her divine Son dying in such agony.
Jesus willed, however, that the immaculate body of His Mother would remain intact. It was only her great love and intense desire of being reunited with her Son which gradually consumed her mortal life. Her ever-increasing love for God broke the bonds of her mortal frame until she went to sleep at last in the Lord.
If only our death could be the same!
2. Because we are wretched sinners, death for us is a punishment. Let us accept it with resignation. We should frequently offer to God whatever death He has in store for us, with all its sorrow and suffering.
We can gain great merit in this way. As a result of our daily offering, God will surely grant us a more peaceful death. There are many people who long for death. Some desire it in moments of discouragement as a release from the sorrows of life. Others long for it to bring to an end their struggle against their sinful inclinations and to assure them of an everlasting reward, to gain which they may not even have made many sacrifices. The first kind of desire is unworthy of a true soldier of Christ while the second is presumptuous and self-interested. The only legitimate yearning for death is the desire to be united at last with Jesus.
This was the nature of Mary’s desire, as well as that of St. Paul, who wrote that he desired “to depart and to be with Christ.” (Phil. 1:23)
3. As a result of this meditation, let us make the following resolutions in the presence of Mary assumed into Heaven.
(1) To offer to God every day in expiation of our sins whatever kind of death He will please to give us.
(2) To build up for ourselves henceforth a substantial credit account of good actions and generous sacrifices.
(3) To pray fervently to our Mother Mary to obtain for us from her divine Son a death which will be peaceful like hers with all our sins forgiven and our hearts filled with a loving desire to be with God.