Assumption Day, the day on which we observe our Lady’s entrance, body and soul, into Heaven, is a day of celebrating the victory that God, the faithful one above all others, gives to humanity redeemed in Christ.
The victory that God has given to us in Christ Jesus is unlike any liberation conceived by the great Eastern religions, for in Mary’s assumption we see that the individual human person is not an illusion to be transcended; and the body is not a mere vehicle for a passage from birth to death. The human person, each human person, is willed into existence by God, is unique and unrepeatable, and will live forever; and is destined to live forever as both body and soul.
1950, the year of the Marian dogma, was the midpoint of a harsh century. Mankind was reeling from the great slaughters of 1914-1919 and 1939-1945; and was despairing in the face of the mass killings of the Nazi regime; the crimes of Communism were far from over, and the tragedy of mass abortion was nowhere in sight. The twentieth century’s offenses against divine hope were many, and its crimes against the human body were many.
How necessary it was — what a gift to humanity it was — that Pope Pius XII of blessed memory solemnly and definitively affirmed the Assumption in 1950! It was St. Peter strengthening his brethren with a word of divine hope and faithfulness, a word of the God who loves mankind.