Today is the day we celebrate Mary's "homecoming," when she was taken into heaven at the end of her life. (For more details, go to Ginny Kubitz Moyer's blog post entitled "Body Talk, Mary Style."
Because of her special connection to Christ, Mary was the first to receive the glorified form that is the destiny of all believers, united body and soul with God in heaven, beholding the beatific vision with all the angels and saints.
I was thinking about this recently when I went to visit the grave of my friend, Father Roger Prokop, while I was in Elmira NY last week. While I knew that the pain and suffering he had endured with the brain tumor was over, it hurt to think of his body lying there under the soil. This is a natural human impulse, I think -- we were meant for eternal life, and so death in a certain sense goes against God's original purpose. It hurts.
Today we celebrate the fact that in a very real way, death has lost. The death and resurrection of Christ has paid our debt -- a debt we could never pay ourselves, no matter how "good" we were or how hard we tried. The Christian life, then, is about allowing those transcendent graces to seep into every pore, every sinew, every breath until (in the words of the great hymn) "changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place. Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love and praise!"
That, dear friends in Christ, is what we are celebrating today. Mary, the Queen of Heaven, has tossed the first crown at the feet of her Son!