Meditation as a Preparation for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15, 2015

The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, referred to in the East as the Dormition of Mary, celebrates and presents to us the passage of Mary into eternal life, the "Passover" of Mary from earthly life to heavenly glory. For the majority of humanity, stained by sin, this passage from earth to Heaven is not an easy one, as it is marked by the fear of death. Hence, we often refer to people being in their "final agony," that is, their final battle. The Diary of St. Faustina recounts multiple experiences she had of praying for the dying who were surrounded even at times by demons attempting to snatch the soul for Hell. However, for Our Lady, there was no agony, no battle. Her passage from this life to the next was so filled with trust and peace that she simply "fell asleep." This is the meaning of the word dormition. For Mary, entering into the next life was a peaceful transition, for she had complete trust in God. For her, this "Passover" from earth to Heaven was like falling asleep.

The way to take for a Christian who desires to imitate Jesus in His death is exemplified by Mary. We are not all called to suffer the death of a martyr. We are, though, all called to entrust ourselves to the Father as did Jesus — "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Lk 23:46). Mary reveals this to us in an exemplary way by her "quiet" entry into eternal life. We are called to follow her example of total abandonment and trust.

How do we prepare for death? Our Lady spent her years on earth after the Ascension adoring and receiving our Lord in the Eucharist. There is no doubt that she longed to see Jesus once again face to face. She prepared for seeing Jesus for all eternity by all those moments spent with Jesus in the Eucharist. We, too, are called to do the same. We prepare ourselves for the encounter with Jesus face to face by being before Him in the Eucharist. The Person we perceive in faith, hidden under the appearances of bread and wine, we will see revealed in all His glory at the moment of death. If we are filled with an eager desire to see the Lord in faith here on earth in the Eucharist, we will be filled also with an eager desire to see Him at death. The stronger that desire becomes, the more it will push out any fear of death, any "final agony." We will not be afraid of seeing our Lord, nor will we have to battle our undue attachments to the things of this world that we must leave behind. Desire for our Lord will propel us into the hands of the Father, allowing us to "fall asleep," like Our Lady, in His loving embrace, an embrace we will enjoy for all eternity.