VII. — THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY INTO HEAVEN.
It would seem that, on the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven, the holy Church should invite us to mourn rather than rejoice, since our dear Mother has quitted this world and left us deprived of her sweet presence. But no: the holy Church rightly invites us to rejoice, for Mary is going to possess a kingdom and to be crowned Queen of Heaven. Let us therefore rejoice in the glorious triumph of our Mother.
It would seem that on the day of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven the holy Church should rather invite us to mourn than to rejoice, since our sweet Mother has quitted this world and left us deprived of her sweet presence. St. Bernard says “It seems that we should rather weep than rejoice.” But no; the holy Church invites us to rejoice: “Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a Festival in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” And justly so; for, if we love our Mother, we ought to congratulate ourselves more upon her glory than on our own personal happiness. What son does not rejoice, though on account of it he has to be separated from his mother, if he knows that she is going to take possession of a kingdom? Mary is to be crowned Queen of Heaven; and shall we not keep it a festival and rejoice if we truly love her? Let us rejoice, then; let us all rejoice! And that we may rejoice, and be consoled the more by her exaltation, let us consider how glorious was the triumph of Mary when she ascended to Heaven.
After Jesus Christ our Saviour had completed, by His death, the work of Redemption, the Angels ardently desired to possess Him in their heavenly country; hence they were continually supplicating Him in the words of David: Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place, thou and the ark which thou hast sanctified (Ps. cxxxi. 8). Come, O Lord, come quickly, now that Thou hast redeemed men; come to Thy kingdom and dwell with us, and bring with Thee the living ark of Thy sanctification, Thy Mother, who was the ark Thou didst sanctify by dwelling in her womb. Precisely thus does St. Bernardine make the Angels say: “Let Mary, Thy most holy Mother, sanctified by Thy conception, also ascend.” Our Lord was at last pleased to satisfy the desire of these heavenly citizens by calling Mary to Paradise. But if it was His will that the ark of the old dispensation should be brought with great pomp into the city of David — And David and all the house of Israel brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord with joyful shouting, and with sound of trumpet (2 Kings vi. 15) — with how much greater and more glorious pomp did He ordain that His Mother should enter Heaven!
The Prophet Elias was carried to Heaven in a fiery chariot, which, according to interpreters, was no other than a group of Angels who bore him off from the earth. “But to conduct thee to Heaven, O Mother of God,” says the Abbot Rupert, “a fiery chariot was not enough; the whole court of Heaven, headed by its King thy Son, went forth to meet and accompany thee.”
St. Bernardine of Sienna says, that “Jesus,” to honour the triumph of His most sweet Mother, “went forth in His glory to meet and accompany her.” St. Anselm also says, that “it was precisely for this purpose that the Redeemer was pleased to ascend to Heaven before His Mother; that is, He did so, not only to prepare a throne for her in that kingdom, but also that He might Himself accompany her with all the blessed Spirits, and thus render her entry into Heaven more glorious, and such as became one who was His Mother.” St. Peter Damian, contemplating the splendour of this Assumption of Mary into Heaven, says that “we shall find it more glorious than the Ascension of Jesus Christ; for to meet the Redeemer, Angels only went forth; but when the Blessed Virgin was assumed to glory, she was met and accompanied by the Lord of glory Himself, and by the whole blessed company of Saints and Angels.” For this reason the Abbot Guerric supposes the Divine Word thus speaking: “To honour the Father, I descended from Heaven; to honour My Mother, I reascended there”: that thus I might be enabled to go forth to meet her, and myself accompany her to Paradise.