[Ordinary of the Mass]
[Blessing of First Fruits]
November 1, AD 1950, the feast of All Saints, our Holy Father Pope Pius
“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.”
In celebrating the feast of the Assumption, the Church has us consider that God
created Adam and Eve in immaculate sinlessness—and that had they persevered in
that state, they would have been preserved free from all suffering and even from
But our first parents had free will—just as we do—because without free will they
would have been unable to honor God in any way—without free will they would not
have been capable of being saints or sinners—they would have been more like
robots. Unfortunately, they used that free will to disobey God, and suffering
and death entered the world.
But no sooner had they committed their fatal sin, than God announced His plan to
forgive them and their fallen descendants. He would send His Son, born of a
woman, and they would figuratively crush the head of the serpent; for the
serpent represented sin and the temptation to sin.
He sent the woman into the world—the second Eve, creating her in immaculate
sinlessness from the very moment of her conception. As He promised, the woman
would “be at enmities” with the devil—the exact polar opposite—which is
to say, perfectly and perpetually free from sin.
And He sent His own Son into the world the second Adam, taking human nature
from that second Eve, but likewise free from every stain of sin.
And just like the first Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary had perfectly free wills,
for again, free will is necessary if we are to honor God. But unlike Adam and
Eve, Jesus and Mary used that free will in lives of perfect obedience to God the
Father. The words of Mary at the Annunciation—“Behold the handmaid of the
Lord, be it done to me according to thy word”—are
representative of her entire lifetime of obedience to God's will—not just at one
moment, but for all of her years on earth. She obeyed God in becoming the
mother of His Son, and again in giving Him up to His death on the Cross, and at
every other moment of her life.
By virtue of this perfect obedience; this perfect conformity to the will of God,
we can say that she shared in His victory over sin and death. In obedience, He
allowed Himself to be crucified, but then He rose from the dead and ascended
into heaven, body and soul. In similar obedience, she too gave herself over to
the will of God, and at the end of her earthly life she was assumed body and
soul into heaven to be with her beloved Son—a fitting triumph over suffering and
death for the second Eve.
In a certain sense, this feast of Mary's Assumption is our feast also, for the
triumph of Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother over sin and death constitute our
redemption, and teach us what we must do for our salvation.
Mary had free will just as we do—she could have sinned but never did. So this
feast of her glorious Assumption into heaven is tangible proof that we too can
be victorious over sin and death—that through the grace of God and the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary we can conform our wills to the will of
God and spend eternity in their most blessed company.