The dogma of the Assumption affirms that after her death Our Lady’s body did not decay into dust as our bodies will. We are told that at the last day we shall be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, and our bodies will be resurrected and made like to his sinless body. That is how it is with those of us conceived in sin who inherit the taint of Original Sin. But how is it with Mary, she whom the Church recognises as the Mother of God? For those from a more Protestant tradition, remember that if, as you believe, Our Lord is fully-God and fully-man, then he who did not abhor the Virgin’s womb is God and Lord of All, therefore, rightly, she who bore him is called the Theotokos – the God-bearer, or, as the people have always called her, ‘the Mother of God’. In affirming her thus, the Church protects against that heresy which says Jesus is man but not God. We should not suppose ourselves wise enough to disdain the wisdom of the ages.
But Our Lady was born without sin. The sinful and the sinless cannot share the same nature, and Our Lord took his human nature from his mother, and we are told he was like us in all things save for sin; if he was without taint of sin, then his blessed mother must, it follows, also have been without sin, as she did not pass sin on to him as ordinary mothers do. So, as we shall be resurrected at the end, so she was granted the signal privilege, having already been saved by the redeeming blood of her Son, of being resurrected immediately after death. If the resurrection of the Lord was the first fruit of the redemption, then his mother was the next beneficiary.
In our first mother, Eve, did we fall, in the second Eve, we rise through her Son and Saviour, for, make no mistake, she is saved by him as we are, and not by any of her own works. Her obedience to the word of God was absolute. The account of the nativity we have in Luke can have but one source – Our Lady herself. Her first reaction was to accept God’s will, and her second was to praise Him. Throughout her earthly life she did what was needed of her, and she was obedient, even to seeing her precious son die a criminal’s death upon the Cross. Yet, where most of the Apostles ran and hid, she stood, the sorrowful mother, at the base of the Cross – she watched him die. But she saw him, Risen Lord, and, with Blessed Saint John, she lived until it pleased the Lord to take her to His bosom.
It is an error, not less so for being so common, to confuse the fact that the Bible tells us what is necessary for our salvation, for it telling us all that is to be known about Our Lady and the Apostles. The first Christians were avid for more information, and from the Fathers and the early stories which were collected, we know what happened after the story told in the New Testament ended. We do not know as much as we should like, but the tradition has it that Our Lady lived with St John in Ephesus and died at at advanced age, surrounded according to some accounts, by many of the Apostles. That last may, like so much else in the story, be a pious addition, and whether we credit it or not is no matter. But it does matter that we accept that she who was conceived without sin was assumed into Heaven at her death, where the Son who had loved her, welcomed her, as, we hope, he will us, when our time time comes. Her time was first.
The Almighty has done great things for me, he has exalted the lowly.