At the end of her earthly life Mary was taken up, body and soul, into Heaven, that is, into the glory of eternal life, into full and perfect communion with God.
It is 60 years since Venerable Pope Pius XII, on 1 November 1950, solemnly defined this Dogma: We believe that Mary, like Christ her Son, overcame death and is already triumphant in heavenly glory, in the totality of her being, "in body and soul".
St Paul helps us to shed a little more light on this mystery starting from the central event of human history and of our faith: that is, the event of Christ's Resurrection which is "the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep".
The Church in her infallible Magisterium says of Mary in a precise and clear manner: the Mother of God is so deeply integrated into Christ's Mystery that at the end of her earthly life she already participates with her whole self in her Son's Resurrection. She lives what we await at the end of time when the "last enemy" death will have been destroyed (cf. 1 Cor 15: 26). She already lives what we proclaim in the Creed: "We look for the Resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come".
We can then ask ourselves: what are the roots of this victory over death wonderfully anticipated in Mary? Its roots are in the faith of the Virgin of Nazareth: a faith that is obedient to the word of God and total abandonment to the divine action and initiative, in accordance with what the Archangel announced to her. Faith, therefore, is Mary's greatness, as Elizabeth joyfully proclaims: Mary is "blessed among women" and "blessed is the fruit of [her] womb", for she is Mother of the Lord.
Let us pray the Lord that he will enable us to understand how precious in his eyes is the whole of our life. May he strengthen our faith in eternal life, make us people of hope who work to build a world open to God, people full of joy who can glimpse the beauty of the future world amidst the worries of daily life and in this certainty live, believe and hope.
The above are extracts from Benedict XVI's homily for the Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated at the St Thomas of Villanova Parish, Castel Gandolfo, on 15 August 2010.