Saturday - Second Reading
We read in the Gospels these words of Christ - the measure you give shall be the measure you receive. No one on earth can know the glory of Mary, the Mother of God. She who on earth gave so much receives now in heaven a measure of glory beyond the whole of creation. When it pleased Christ to call her from this earth, there awaited her all whom her holiness had helped. God himself, whose love had been made known only through her, awaited her coming to adorn her with a glory surpassed only by his own. She was raised to the highest place in heaven, to be Queen, not only of his earthly creation, but Queen over the Angels for ever.
The Angels rejoiced in this Queen, made for ever obedient to her by their love for her. Those Angels too who had fallen from God were made subject to her; not temptation of theirs could withstand her; no one calling with love for her help would be left unprotected; the tempters would choose rather an increase of their misery than the opposing of her power. Of all creatures the most humble, Mary is now the most glorious, the most perfect in beauty, and nearest to God himself. As gold surpassed all other metals, Angels and men surpass all the creatures of God. Gold needs the fire and the work of the goldsmith before it can be fashioned into a work of beauty.
Mary, more perfect than all Angels and men, was fashioned by her own will, in the fire of the Holy Spirit, into a thing of the highest beauty. A work of art wrought in gold needs the light to be seen; in the light of the sun, it will be seen in all its perfection. All that the Virgin Mary accomplished, and the beauty of her soul, could not be seen while she was living on earth. Lit by the light of God himself in heaven, she appeared in the fulness of beauty. All heaven gave praise to her, and to that beauty of soul with which her will had adorned her, a beauty beyond the beauty of all creation, near even to God's own perfection. Mary is enthroned for ever, on that throne placed near to the throne of God.
No one is nearer than she to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father, the Holy Spirit is in the Father and the Son. The Son, when he became man in the Virgin's womb, was not thereby divided from the Father and the Holy Spirit. He took our humanity, not losing his Divinity, as Mary acquired Motherhood without loss to her Virginity. God gave to Mary, therefore, a place near to himself, so that she is ever with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and ever associated with this Blessed Trinity in all things.
Who could measure the joy in heaven when God raised Mary from this earth? Who will measure our joy when, seeing God face to face, we see too the glory of Mary? The Angels rejoicing in Mary glorify God. The death of Christ has filled again the places made vacant in heaven. The raising of Mary to heaven has increased even the blessedness of heaven. To Adam and Eve, to the Patriarchs and Prophets, to all who died before Christ and were released by his death, to all who have died since Christ's death and been taken to heaven, Mary's entry into heaven is an everlasting joy and delight.
They praise God for her glory, for the honour he has bestowed on her as the one who bore in holiness Christ, their Redeemer and Lord. We may picture the Apostles and many holy ones around Mary as her last hour approached. We know the reverence and honour they paid to her at the moment of her death. We believe that she died, as all others die. We believe that her Son, the Son of God, took her to himself, and raised her, body and soul, to live for ever in heaven.
Saturday - Third Reading
The Son of God, the Son of Mary, Christ who is Truth itself, has said to us - return not evil for evil, but return good for evil. Will not he himself therefore, for he is God, return good for good, and five great reward even for little? He promises in the Gospel that for every good work he will repay a hundredfold. What then will be Mary's reward? Her life was a life of countless good works, a life entirely pleasing to God, a life ever free from defect and unmarred by sin. In all things her will chose, and every member of her body responded gladly to that command. The justice of God has willed that we must rise, body and soul, at the last day, to be repaid for our works.
Body and soul we shall stand before God, for in all things, body and soul act as one. Christ's sinless body rose from the dead, and is now and for ever united in glory with his Divinity. The sinless body of Mary, together with her soul, was taken up by God after her death into heaven, and she is honoured there, body and soul, for ever. No mind of ours can comprehend the perfection and glory which is Christ's as reward for his sufferings. No mind of ours can comprehend the glory which is Mary's, in body and soul, for her perfect obedience to God.
The holiness of Mary, those virtues adorning her soul, glorified God her Creator, and she is crowned now in heaven with his reward for those virtues.
The good works of Mary, accomplished by her perfect subjection of body to soul, proclaim for ever her praise. She has done all things as God willed, and omitted nothing that God desired, to win an eternal heavenly glory of both body and soul. No soul, except Christ's, was so filled with holiness and merit as the pure soul of Mary. No body, except the sacred body of her Son, was so worthy to be glorified for its purity and perfection as the pure body of Mary. The justice of God flashed forth when he drove Adam from the garden of Paradise for tasting the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. The mercy of God entered sweetly into this world when the Virgin Mary was born, whom we may fittingly name the tree of life.
The justice of God drove out Adam and Eve into instant exile and misery, for their disobeying. The mercy of God gently invites and attracts to the glory of heaven, all who seek life in obeying. Mary, the tree of life, grew up in this world, to the joy of the Angels in heaven. They longed for the fruit of this tree, which was Christ, and they rejoiced, as they rejoiced in their own eternal happiness, that the great love of God would be made known among men, and their own heavenly ranks increased in number.
The Angel Gabriel rejoiced to be sent with God's message to Mary, and his greeting was spoken with great love for her. When Mary, in the perfection of her holiness and humility, assented, he rejoiced still more that the desire of all the Angels was soon to be fulfilled. We believe and we know, that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. We and all our race should ever think of her, and pray to her. In the trials and sorrows of our days, in the sinfulness of our hearts, in the bitterness of life, overshadowed by the certain approach of death. we should look to her, and draw near to her with true sorrow for sin.
We have called her the tree of life. To taste the fruit of the tree, we must first part its branches, and stretch out our hands through the leaves. The tree of life is Mary, the sweet fruit of this tree, Christ her Son. We reach through the branches to pluck the fruit when we greet Mary, as Gabriel did, with great love. She offers us her sweet fruit to taste when she sees our hearts no longer in sin, but willing in all things the will of God. Her intercession and prayer help us to receive the most holy Body of Christ, consecrated for us by the hands of men. This is the Food of true Life, the bread of Angels, and the nourishment of sinful men.
We, though we are sinful and sinning - we are the desire of Christ. His own blood has redeemed us, and he has destined us for heaven, to increase there the numbers of his loved ones. With wise thought, therefore, and with care, with all reverence and love, take him and eat. Let Christ fulfil in you this desire of his heart.
May the wondrous intercession of the Virgin whose name is Mary win for you this joy from her Son, Jesus Christ, who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, God for ever. Amen.