Body and Soul

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

First Reading: Revelation 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16

R. (10bc) The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Gospel: Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.


aug 15

Since the earliest days of the church after Christ’s death, the apostles handed down the knowledge, the truth and belief, that God assumed the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven—body and soul—after her earthly death.

By the sixth century, this truth was celebrated as an annual feast day; we still celebrate this beautiful, unchanged truth all these thousands of years later on this Holy Day of Obligation. But when trying to squeeze in a weekday mass between work and school and family schedules, sometimes the beauty gets a little overrun by regular old life.

Let’s reflect on it now, shall we?

Mary died as all humans do. Apostolic tradition tells us her death occurred in the presence of the Apostles sometime after Jesus ascended to heaven. She was buried, but when the Apostles returned as required by burial customs of the time, they found no remains. Like her Son, they found only a miraculously empty tomb.

But why?

When the Angel Gabriel told Mary before any early-response pregnancy test could that she would be pregnant, she didn’t let selfish (or what we would even consider reasonable) concerns—that it wasn’t the right time, that she was too young, that she would be shamed by the locals—conflict with God’s plan. When her young divine Son’s life was threatened by Herod, she didn’t complain about another move or bemoan the displeasure of Egypt this time of year. When her heart was pierced by a sword as her Son suffered persecution and mocking, as her tears mingled with his blood and sweat each step of his Passion, she loved trustingly, recklessly, and with her whole self. In every moment, with every single fiber of her being, she gave fully of her body and her soul, in the purest example of what a human love of God—what a personal relationship with Jesus—is meant to be.

Yes, time and again Mary gave herself over to our Lord, body and soul. And so God gave both back to her as His divine gift. Through His singular power, her Lord and Son united to Himself not just His Blessed Mother’s soul, but her body—the blameless body that had selflessly carried and born Him to our earthly world—that she might continue to fully love Him,  body and soul, in His eternal world.

[Tweet “God will fill us unconditionally, body and soul, with Himself.”]

On this feast that exemplifies perfect human love, let’s strive to love, body and soul—with even a fraction of Mary’s love—that our God may fill us unconditionally, body and soul, with Himself.

photo credit

Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.

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