The dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven with body and soul gives us an important information about the meaning of our bodily life on its way to God.
Materialism glorifies the body in its present state and promises it happiness here and now, provided that we disregard or even deny the dimension of eternity. The truth of revelation shows the transitory and corruptible nature of the body, but also points toward the goal of life, namely “the resurrection of the body and life everlasting”.
The redemption of the body
In today’s materialistic world the life of the body has become the most important thing, and we cannot retreat from the intense barrage of material things, since we are children of our time. Even if we do not idolize our body, still we have become accustomed to seeking our happiness all too often in the fulfillment of the longings and desires of our body, supposedly so as to attain fulfillment and peace of mind. Pain, sickness and death show most clearly that these worldly promises are a horrible illusion. And yet man wants his body to be redeemed.
This longing is now answered by the dogma of Mary’s Assumption into heaven, which invites us to meditate on her glorified body in its unfading, heavenly beauty. Such a glorification is promised for our body also, if only we follow the same path as she did. Because her body was completely and utterly guided by her soul, it was also glorified with that soul. Although the world allows the body the wallow in the lie of naturalism and thus leads mankind into despair and ruin, the Knight of the Immaculata, in stark contrast to that, can picture the body as it was predestined to be: immortal.
The glorified body
The fulfillment of this longing is not only a solemn promise: it is already a reality.
The everlasting beauty of Mary’s body in glory gives us both a true appreciation for our body and also an incentive to seize the opportunities to gain a share in that beauty. In the measure that this supernatural reality seizes my imagination and permeates all the departments of my life, I order the life of my body to this reality, refuse to let it fall into illusions and the passions that have been disordered by original sin, and lift it up instead to its true destiny.
It becomes a servant of the spiritual life and fulfills its purpose of being a temple of the Holy Ghost. This results in a very positive but always supernatural view of the life of the body and fills man with a perpetual vigor and youthful spirit, which is recalled at the beginning of every Holy Mass: “I will go to the altar of God, to God who brings joy to my youth – ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam” (Psalm 42).
Then, when the years of old age come and a person has to suffer more and more from the infirmities and disfigurement of his body, this dogma is there as a shining hope that his yearning will soon be fulfilled: the place that the Lord has prepared for us in heaven is not something abstract but is right there before us in the perpetual splendor of the Immaculata taken up to heaven. In her we already see the fulfillment of the Lord’s word: “Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me, that they may see My glory which Thou hast given Me” (John 17:24).