During the Assumption of Our Lady, all of nature and the Angels themselves shone magnificently, reflecting God’s glory in various ways. However, none of this compared to the splendor of the Blessed Virgin ascending to Heaven.
One fact in sacred history that calls our attention is that Our Lord chose to ascend to Heaven before the eyes of men, and that the same happened with the Assumption of Our Lady. Why did the Ascension, and then the Assumption, have to be witnessed by men?
The Mother of the Redeemer should participate in His glory
Regarding the Ascension, there are several reasons for this, and the most prominent of them is of an apologetic nature. It was necessary that some might bear witness to this twofold historical fact, not only that Jesus resurrected, but that He ascended to Heaven, and His earthly life did not continue.
Ascending to Heaven, He opened the way for countless souls and was seated at the right hand of the Eternal Father. He, in His most holy humanity, was the first creature – being at the same time God – to ascend to Heaven in body and soul. As Redeemer, He opened the way to Heaven for humanity.
But there was another reason: it was necessary that He, having suffered every humiliation, should receive every glorification! And there can be no greater and more evident glory for anyone than to ascend to Heaven, for it is to be lifted up above all things. And those who are saved will transcend this world in which we find ourselves, and will go to empyrean Heaven, where Our Lord God is, to be united with Him eternally.
And just as Our Lady had participated like no other in the mystery of the Cross, the Redeemer wanted Her to have the same form of glory and to participate like no other in His glorification. The glorification of Mary Most Holy was accomplished when She was taken up into Heaven.
The Virgin Mary was crowned as Daughter of the Eternal Father, as Mother of the Incarnate Word and as the most faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit the moment She entered Heaven.
Magnificent refulgence of the angelic nature
Our Lady had a glorification on earth and then a glorification in Heaven; therefore, we ought to consider the Assumption as a most glorious phenomenon. Unfortunately, since the Renaissance, painters have not been able to fittingly portray the glory that must have enveloped this spectacle.
We should imagine the following: it is proper to the things of the world that, when one wants to glorify a person, in his residence, for example, everyone puts on their best clothes, the most beautiful objects are displayed, flowers and all that is noblest are arrayed to honour him.
Such a rule is within the natural order of things and is also followed in Heaven. The greatest brilliance of the angelic nature and the most magnificent refulgence of God’s glory in the Angels must have appeared at the very moment when Our Lady ascended into Heaven.
If mortals were allowed to see the Angels on that occasion, they must have appeared dazzling, with an absolutely exceptional splendor. And if it was not given to all men to contemplate them then, it is certain, at least, that they made their presence felt in an imponderable manner, for such has often occurred in history while not being, strictly speaking, a vision or a revelation.
A glory evident to human eyes
It is also natural that at this moment the sun would have shone magnificently, the sky taken on various hues, reflecting the glory of God in different ways, like a true symphony. And the people present there must have interiorly felt this manifestation of God’s splendor in an extraordinary manner.
But none of this could compare with the splendor of the Blessed Virgin rising to Heaven. As She rose, her interior glory certainly became more and more evident to human eyes, as in a true transfiguration, similar to that of Tabor.
Alluding prophetically to Our Lady, the Old Testament says: “Omnis gloria eius filiæ regis ab intus” (Ps 44:14), all the glory of the king’s daughter comes to her from within. And certainly this internal glory that Mary Most Holy possessed was manifested in the most spectacular way when, at the height of her heavenly trajectory, She looked one last time upon men, before definitively leaving this valley of tears and entering into God’s glory.
We thus comprehend that it must have been, after the Ascension of Our Lord, the most magnificently glorious event in the history of the world, comparable only with the day of the Last Judgement, when Our Lord Jesus Christ will come in great pomp and majesty, as Scripture says, to judge the living and the dead; and with Him, all resplendent in the glory of the Divine Saviour, in an indescribable manner, Our Lady will also appear before our eyes. ◊
Taken, with slight adaptations,
from: Dr. Plinio. São Paulo. Year XXI.
N.245 (Aug., 2018); p.10-12