Love Is Strong as Death
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary | Fr Benedict Jonak says that the feast of the Assumption reveals the love of God that conquers all, even our human mortality.
When we say that God is love, we first of all mean the love which is between the persons of the Holy Trinity: the Father loves the Son, his Word, and the Son loves the Father. And that very love is also a person, the Holy Spirit. Of course we can share in this love, because God has made us equal partners to him through the Incarnation of his Son. Through Him and in Him, God’s love for us is more than a love of the creator for his creation and opens for us a possibility to be really friends with the Lord. We are his friends, because we are part of Christ’s body, his adopted brothers and sisters, his co-heirs. And all of this is possible because of Christ who being divine truly became a human being through the Virgin Mary.
Furthermore, Christ’s love for us was made manifest in the willingness to undergo passion and shameful death on the cross. That love was also confirmed by his rising from the dead and his returning to the Father, so that he may be glorified and exalted for ever.
Christ’s mission, then, his coming from and returning to the Father, reveals to us yet another side of that love, which is that he wants all of us to follow him and eventually to see God face to face. Of course we can see how this desire of God to draw all things to himself is best realized in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the first human being to have experienced fully that life-changing and restoring love of God, in her body and her soul. Following God’s plan, which he has made available for all of us, she now sees God in the flesh. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve saw God face to face. But they cut themselves off from life and love which was offered to them.
Mary, the new Eve, now sees God face to face, in her body. She, the first member of the church, represents the human race restored, re-united with God, the human race that embraces God’s love and life.
Very often we experience or see salvation as a battle, or perhaps as an ongoing war that happens within us and outside us. A war between life and death, between truth and lies, hope and despair. Indeed the first reading today, the vision of St John, provides us with an image to support that: a battle between the dragon and the woman clothed with the sun. However we need also to remember that Christ has already conquered it all.
He now tells us to remain in his love, which we can do by continuing his mission and following the commandments that he left us. God’s love for us does not simply give us the grace to be his followers here on earth. God’s love for us constantly reminds us of our true goal, which is to live in the presence of God in the flesh. It is another reason why Jesus encouraged us to see Mary as our Mother: she also supports us in on our way back to God, until we all rest in that love that conquers all: in the unity of the Trinity.
Photograph by Fr Lawrence Lew OP of the dome of the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, MD.