Exaltata est Virgo Maria...

Hodie, Maria Virgo assumpta est ad caelos; Today, the Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. Alleluia!

Well, what can I really say about this one? Perhaps I should just let Pope Pius XII, who defined the dogma of the Assumption, speak for himself:

“[We hope that] those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father's will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.” (Munificentissimus Deus, 42)

No, that wasn’t Latin. That was just very complex English (which, as you might have guessed, is a translation from the Latin original). Permit me to venture a further “translation” of this somewhat elaborate yet absolutely essential statement…

The Church has always venerated the Blessed Virgin Mary above all the other saints, because it was through her womb that the Lord Jesus was made Incarnate for the salvation of the world. Through Mary’s fiat – “let it be done” – in response to the angel Gabriel on the day of the Annunciation, God’s Will was permitted to come into full force; by the humble, submissive “yes” of a lowly woman, the Almighty chose to send His only Son to live, suffer and die for the sins of all mankind. In a word, Mary’s love for the Lord was enough that she even offered her very life, her being, to bring about the completion of God’s plan for salvation through Christ!

This is precisely what Pope Pius XII intends to point out by his dogmatic proclamation of the Assumption. We can be sure – the Catholic Church as a whole – that Mary must have been assumed, body and soul, into heaven; she was absolutely unblemished, and her whole person was undefiled by sin (as we know through the dogma of the Immaculate Conception). By contemplating this glorious mystery of the faith, as the Holy Father states, we come to more fully realize the Father’s Will for the rest of humanity: we are called to act as Mary did, and to offer our whole being to the Lord. Even in a world that continually downplays the value of humble submissiveness (cf. my post on Christian Humanism), the model of the Blessed Mother is precisely what we need to focus on if we are going to be able to rightly offer our lives, whole and entire, to the Heart of the Father. If we truly focus on the virtue of the Blessed Virgin, someday we too might be humble enough to utter the same as she did at the Annunciation: “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum; Let it be done unto me according to your word.”