Today is the Feast of the Assumption. Â It celebrates the Catholic belief that when Mary’s time on earth was over, her son took her, body and soul, into heaven. Â Mary’s body didn’t have to be subjected to the process of decay that we all go through (ashes to ashes, and all that). Â She was assumed, both body and soul, into heavenly glory.
I think that sounds quite nice.
I first blogged about the Assumption a few years ago, and I’m going to rerun a version of that post today, in honor of the occasion. Â Happy Feast Day!
When I was younger, I never thought much about the Assumption. Â Itâ€™s always sounded like a nice event, and Iâ€™ve never had a problem accepting it, but itâ€™s never been particularly meaningful to me.
Now, as a mom, I think itâ€™s absolutely beautiful. Â I love it for what it says about Mary â€¦ but, even more, I love it for what it says about Jesus.
Hereâ€™s the thing that Iâ€™ve learned in the five or so years since my oldest child’s birth: mothering is very, very, VERY physical. Â I take care of my boys’ bodies Â in countless ways. Â The same, of course, was true of Mary. Â She carried Jesus in her womb and felt him kick; she nursed him; she wrapped him in those famous swaddling clothes. Â When he got older, she helped him blow his nose and kissed his owies when he fell. Â She combed his hair, bathed him, urged him to eat when heâ€™d rather get out and play. Â Â She mended the clothes that covered his changing body as he shot up into manhood. Â For years, she administered gentle touches, affectionately rumpled his hair, and constantly monitored and cared for his body (because, in the early years at least, moms know their kidsâ€™ bodies as well as they know their own). Â She did all this for her little guy, day in and day out, for years and years.
And so, at the end of her life, I can imagine Jesus remembering all those things. Â I see him looking at her with infinite gratitude and affection and saying, â€œOkay, Mom, you spent years taking care of my body. Â Now, Iâ€™m going to take care of yours.â€ Â And he does this in the best way he can: he spares her from having to lie in a tomb and instead takes that body up to heaven with him. Â In that way, he makes a special statement of love for the body that carried him and cared for him, the body that was his source of nourishment early on in his life and his source of comfort for years after that.
I’d say that’s the action of Â a very loving son.
Madonna by Murillo