The Blessed Virgin Mary ascends to Heaven with her body and soul. This is our faith which we solemnly celebrate today. How to understand this great mystery?
The soul, for the Greeks, is the principle of life which organizes all living beings.
The soul, for the Hebrews, is the living soul that comes from the breath of God invariably linked to the body as we read in the book of Genesis (Gen 2, 7).
We believe that man has a spiritual soul directly created by God. This soul, capable of God, of knowing him, of contemplating him, of entering into a relationship with him, returns to God at the moment of bodily death.
We have more trouble with our body, this carnal body, and yet … This body is magnificent, not because we would be sculptural stallions or models with irreproachable plasticity, but because the Word became flesh, because ‘in Jesus, God himself inhabited this human body. He took on this body with its limits, its weaknesses, its sufferings, its death in order to transfigure it in the glory of his Resurrection.
We thus believe that our body, which allows us to enter into relationship with one another, will be resurrected as the body that Jesus, the Son of God, assumed. Our bodies are not destined to go up in smoke in a crematorium for good, nor to be eaten up by worms.
Our body, which has carried and expressed our life, is called to join the communion of love in God, that is to say the Trinity in which the humanity of the Word is present since the ascension of Jesus to the right of the Father.
Our body, damaged, wounded by sin, disease, old age, will be transfigured by divine love. Each of our wounds, each of our limits, each of our wrinkles presents itself as an opening to love even more.
Faced with the wounds and the death of her son, the Virgin Mary allowed herself to be pierced not so much by injustice and human cruelty but by the sword of divine love, of this love that gives everything. And it is in this love that she allows herself to be fully assumed, body and soul.
Do you know the poem of Aragon sung by Jean Ferrat: “Woman is the future of man”? I don’t know if these poets were aware of it, but they really are great prophets. Today we are celebrating our future. It is Mary who is accomplishing today what will be our future.
When Christ returns, we will be with God body and soul, like Mary. As Saint-Paul tells us: “At the return of Christ, men will be resuscitated. All will receive life ”.
This is why Mary is the future of man because her Assumption realizes our vocation: that of loving and allowing ourselves to be loved more deeply than evil, sin and death. Mary is our way, “The first on the way”, as we often sing.
Indeed, it welcomes the Word of God: we welcome the Body of Christ at the Eucharist.
She gives her “yes” freely: we will have to enter into the freedom which gives us to follow Christ.
It poses a question that is not in doubt: we too must train our intelligence.
She meditates all things in her heart: we have to scrutinize the Word of God in order to live by it.
She takes an act of faith: we will have to do it like her.
But above all, she lets love express itself within her. God created us out of love and man’s vocation is love. It is this love that pushes her towards Elisabeth, her cousin. This very simple charity that makes her go beyond the questions raised by her own pregnancy to put herself at the service.
This love “like Jesus” gives her to love like God himself. This love radiates, diffuses, it is contagious.
This is why Mary rejoices in her Magnificat. It is this love of which Jesus speaks when he tells us: “I told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be perfect”.