Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. – Rev. 11:19–12:1
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; Despise not our prayers in our necessities, But ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
In his homilies on Our Blessed Mother, St. Francis de Sales preached that Mary was perfectly one with Christ on Calvary in his worship of the Father. She offered him lovingly back to the Father and she offered her sufferings for her children. The Saint tells us that Mary would have died with Christ on Calvary had her Son not prevented her. Jesus willed that she stay for some time with the Church on earth after his ascension into heaven and share in his death of love later. When the time willed by God arrived, Mary died a natural death – but a death that was consciously an act of worshipful love. The Mother of God longed with her whole being to be with Jesus in his Kingdom. When the moment of death came, she offered herself as Jesus had offered himself to the Father at the moment of his death. Entrusting herself into his embrace, Mary, on fire with the Holy Spirit, transformed her death into an act of love of the Father – a Eucharistic act of worship in, through and with Christ. Preserved from the corruption of the grave, Mary was raised from the dead by Christ and taken, body and soul, into the glory of heaven. In 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined that the Assumption of Mary is an integral part of the Christian Revelation: By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Mary’s dormition, that is, her death, resurrection, and assumption into glory, are a source of hope for Christians who believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: As the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth (Lumen Gentium 68). From her place in Heaven, Mary intercedes with and through Christ for all of the needs of her children on earth.
Mary, Mother of God and our dear Mother, be with us at the hour of our death. Help us understand that, by dying for us, your Son transformed death into an act of worship of the Father – a sacred moment of passage from this life to the next; a moment determined by God alone. Fortified by the sacraments of the Church, help us to die as you did – in an act of love and self-offering for the salvation of others. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.