Mary is assumed because of spiritual physics and her literal holiness.
In the Fall, humanity chooses self over God. That Original Sin is passed down to every person ever born and it is an illness that we live with. Even after being wiped clean from Original Sin in Baptism, we feel the effects of the Fall because of our inclination to sin (concupiscence). What is amazing about the Fall is the radicality of the choice of Adam and Eve.
They were living in perfect communion with God and with one another. They had better knowledge than we do of God’s goodness and of His providence. Despite this intimately deep knowledge of the Creator, they accept the lie that God is not that good, that He is holding back from them.
Ultimately, their sin is rooted in a lack of trust.
Directly after the Fall, God wastes no time in explaining how He will restore humanity with Himself. God tells the serpent that He will put enmity between it and the woman. The seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (evil) will be at odds with one another. “They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel” (Genesis 3:15). This is known as the protoevangelium or “first good news” in the Scriptures. Here, we have the primary detail of what the savior will do.
An injury to the achilles heel is a metaphor for a fatal blow that the serpent will inflict upon the offspring of the woman. This means that evil will kill THE offspring of THE woman. Evil will crush Jesus and kill him, the offspring of Mary. However, in the process, Jesus will strike at the serpent’s head, destroying its power over humanity in the future.
With Mary, we see that this promise is fulfilled. She lived free from the reign of the serpent. She experienced the weight of human sin (temptation) but she never gave into temptation. Her trust in the Father was so pure and sure that she lived as if the serpent’s head had already been crushed.
Science can aid us in viewing the sanctity of the Blessed Mother. Years ago, scientists discovered that fetal cells remain in the mother even after their child is born. Countless mothers have described the feeling that “my children still feel like they are a part of me” even long after they are born into the world. The fetal cells enter the woman’s body through the placenta and then they can morph into different tissue and live inside of the mother.
Applied to Mary, we see that she would have literally had the Body of Christ grafted to her body. Christ dwelled within her, even after that first Christmas morning. She shows humanity what can happen when we allow Jesus to act on us and be enlivened by his conquering of sin and death.
Our identity is righteousness because of what Christ did for us on the cross. He crushed evil by offering his life in our place.
Through it all, he had you on his mind.
Through it all, you had a mother standing by the foot of the Cross.
She was the first one who was like the ark of the covenant. She was a living and breathing tabernacle. She was a Eucharistic procession bringing Christ’s glory to the world until she was assumed into heaven.
Her Assumption reveals a key aspect of what it means to be Christian. We do not follow Christ because he is a great moral philosopher, but because being attached to him makes us who we were made to be. It allows us to be trusting even in the face of a darkening world.
We do not follow Christ because he is a great moral philosopher, but because being attached to him makes us who we were made to be. – Thomas Griffin
Because of sin, Adam and Eve were told that they would die. Originally, that was not part of God’s plan. Death is the greatest consequence of sin. Death is Satan’s gloating stick. But, Jesus destroyed it by entering death himself. Mary does not experience the effects of death because she never sinned. So, her body and soul do not separate at the end of her earthly life. She allowed Christ’s literal presence in her cells to invigorate her existence.
While we are not like Mary in the sense that we are free from sin, we are promised the same outcome as her. We are promised everlasting life and have the real choice to live from the power of the redemption. To inherit it, let us cling to the Eucharist so that we can have Christ live within us. Let us be transformed by what we receive and let us plead with Mary for her prayers, knowing that the spiritual physics that took her into heaven can one day be applied to ourselves at the resurrection of the body.
Thomas Griffin teaches in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island where he lives with his wife and son. Follow his latest content at EmptyTombProject.org
Image courtesy of Unsplash.