On August 15, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, a day recognising the Virgin Mary’s completion of her early life and a celebration that she “was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven” (Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII, 1950).

As we reflect on her transition into heaven, we remember that we are all called to live out God’s word on Earth here and now.

When Pope Pius XII formally defined and promulgated the dogma that Mary, “was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven”, he hoped that this would be of pastoral benefit for the people of God. In the encyclical he wrote in 1950, he says:

“It is to be hoped that from meditation on the glorious example of Mary [people] may come to realise more and more the value of a human life entirely dedicated to fulfilling the will of the Heavenly Father and to caring for the welfare of others.”

A mother’s life is one of courage and sacrifice. A mother’s love is like a bastion of safety in which we seek protection when the waves of despair threaten to draw us down into darkness.

Reflecting on Mary’s heart, we must wonder how she must have felt as her son was nailed to the cross, how the excruciating pain of his death must have weighed upon her.

He rose from the dead, and the hope of being reunited with the child that had grown inside her must have sustained her through the rest of her life. But what a burden to have carried. What an exquisite anguish, knowing that her son died to save the world.

Today we honour Mary, for her resounding “yes” through all the stages of her life, and we give thanks for her life of love and sacrifice in bringing our saviour into this world.

Saint Louis de Montfort said it best when he wrote:

We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek—Jesus, her Son.