The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lack of explicit mention of the privilege of the Assumption as such in the NT notwithstanding, tradition and sound theological reasoning indicate its implicit revelation in the scriptures. In the Old Testament, the singularity of Mary as the "woman" was declared (Gen. 3:15) as a being through whom the redemption promised would become a reality. The NT declares the fact of that redemption (Lk.1:1 Jn. 3:9), and the Blessed Virgin, was "full of grace" and could not be perfect as God had foretold, unless she remained incorruptible (cfr. 1 Cor 15:54-57) Rightly, then, St. Germanus of Constantinople (d. 733) wrote that Mary's virginal body is an altogether holy and chaste dwelling for God and can never know dissolution into dust.
The tradition of the Assumption was already proclaimed as early as in the year 749 by St. John Damascene. "Mary conceived without detriment to her virginal modesty, brought forth her Son without pain, passed hence without decay, according to the word of the angel, or rather God speaking by the angel, that she might be shown to be full, not half-full, of grace", wrote Pope Alexander III (1159-1181). In 1568, Pope Pius V made the feast of the Assumption a holy day for the entire Church.
The doctrine's development is closely related to a feast devoted to Mary that Passed from a general celebration in her honour to one celebrated on 15 August commemorating her dormition, or "falling asleep". When this feast, which originated in the Byzantine Empire - probably in the 5th century - came into the Western Church, the term dormition was replaced by "Assumption". This reflected an increased theological emphasis on the glorification of the complete person of Mary, i.e., of her body as well as her soul, anticipating the state promised to the rest of humankind.
Incidentally, Christians have always held that Mary is the mother of God; that from the very first moment of her existence, sin had no hold over her; that, always ready to God's will as his handmaid, she held the most important place in the history of redemption only next to that of her Son. Indeed, since Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life himself has said, "Where I am, there shall my servant be also" (Jn. 12:26), how can his own Mother not share his dwelling place? Consequently, it was only after he had sought and obtained from the world's bishops a formal assessment as regards the sentiments of the people in each diocese that Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption as a doctrine of faith in his Encyclical, Munificentissimus Deus on 1 November 1950.
Today, the new, holy ark, who conceived the Creator of the world in her womb, comes to rest in the temple of God himself. Today, the Church rejoices in the Exaltation of the humble handmaid of the Lord. Indeed, God, the Almighty who has "done great things" for Mary, as declared by her in the Magnificat, has now done the greatest of all great things for her! Truly, the Assumption has been well described as Our Lady's Easter, for on this day, we celebrate not only her passing from this life but also her resurrection and ascension into heavenly glory, whereby she shares fully in the triumph of the Risen Lord! In the light of this perception, the Magnificat can be best understood as Mary's own Testament of Faith - a "Testament" that dares us manifests the depth of our own faith, a "Faith" that challenges us to look inwards. As the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II says: "Each of us has to look at his and her own life with the eyes of Mary - what He did in her; He did for us, and therefore did it as in us". Rightly then, on this feast, the greatest of Mary's feasts, the Church Universal with one voice joins Mary in exulting: "Holy His Name!"
Reflection :"The feast of the Assumption reminds us that Mary is in heaven body and soul. She is glorified also in her body, along with the body of her divine Son Jesus. Why? It is because on earth the body of our divine Saviour and the body of the Immaculate Mother Mary were sanctified to the maximum degree. The present life for eternity and our happiness is proportionate to our goodness on earth. And Mary our mother will help us to lead a good and holy life" (Blessed James Alberione).