Abbot Raymond - Abbey Mass
If we compare Mary’s title as Mother of God with the privilege of her bodily Assumption into heaven then it is obvious that it is a greater thing to be Mother of God than to be bodily assumed into heaven. There can be no comparison. To be Mother of the Word incarnate is, in an absolute way, greater than any of the other graces with which Mary was favoured. All her other privileges were either a preparation for this or a consequence of this.
However, one thing can be greater than another in one way and yet less than another in another way. For instance one thing can be more beautiful than another yet less useful; more flexible than another yet less strong, and so on. So there is a point of view from which Mary’s Assumption has its own pre-eminence in her destiny. Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven was the climax, the rounding off, the completion of her earthly existence; the icing on the cake, as it were.
In saying that we are considering the Assumption as a personal privilege of Mary, but there is another viewpoint of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. We can look on it not just as something personal to Mary but also as something which is intimately connected with the destiny of us all. Not that we can all hope for a bodily assumption into heaven after we die, but Mary’s bodily assumption, like the ascension of Christ himself, is a kind of pledge and guarantee of the ultimate destiny of our own body of flesh and blood. Christ, the New Adam, has entered the New Paradise, of which the Old Paradise was just a foreshadowing, and Mary, the New Eve, has been given to him as his first companion in the fullness of her humanity.
When the doctrine of the Assumption was first defined, our separated brethren asked, “Where is this in Scripture? We can’t believe what is not in Scripture”. But we can answer that this wonderful event in the history of God’s dealings with his children is well prepared for in Holy Scripture. The mind of faith is prepared for it by such events as the lifting up of Elijah from this earth in the fiery chariot. We are prepared for it by the disappearance from this earth of the bodies of Enoch and Moses for example. But by far the most important foreshadowing of Mary’s Assumption takes place in the very first chapters of Genesis where it is said of the first Adam: “It is not good for Man to be alone”. There were plenty of other living creatures around, but none “like unto himself” to share his life with him on a fully human level. So too surely it must be with the New Adam in the new