On 1st November 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed “for the joy and exultation of the entire Church;” that it was a divinely revealed truth that the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. But the belief in Our Lady’s Assumption has been evident in the Church from very early times. Whilst attending the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Patriarch of Jerusalem received a request from the Roman Emperor to be given relics of Our Lady to be reserved in a Church built in her honour. The Patriarch advised that that would not be possible, since it was settled tradition in the East that three days after her death, Mary’s tomb was found to be empty by the apostles. The circumstances of Mary’s death are not recorded in Scripture, but from the earliest times the Church has interpreted the vision of St John at Patmos, recorded in the book of the Apocalypse, as a description of the glory of the mother of God in heaven. St John sees the very sanctuary of God in heaven opened and can see the ark of the Covenant. For the Jewish people, the ark was the very presence of God amongst them, it was carried with them when they were in the wilderness, borne before them in battle and once the Temple was built, the Ark, made of wood which would not decay, was placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Mary becomes the chosen vessel to carry the glory of the presence of God which was Jesus, she is the ark of the new covenant and her obedience to the will of God becomes the perfect example for us. The only human to be without sin, the new Eve prepares the way for us to be united with God and imitates her beloved Son’s resurrection by being assumed into heaven.
The Mother of God has taken her place in heaven and intercedes for us. She will always protect us and guide us on our own journey to share, with her, eternal joy with Christ.