George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Pope Offers Joy of Heaven
Reflects on Meaning of Mary's Assumption
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 16, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The truth of
what awaits Christians and is prefigured with Mary's assumption
into heaven should fill us with joy, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope reflected Sunday on Mary's assumption as the "realization of
the human creature according to the 'world of God.'"
Referencing what St. Paul says that "as in Adam all die, so too in
Christ shall all be brought to life," the Holy Father explained: "Now,
what St. Paul states about all men, the Church, in her infallible
teaching, says of Mary, in a precise way and meaning: the Mother of God
is inserted to such a degree in the mystery of Christ that she shares
in the resurrection of her Son with her whole being already at the end
of her earthly life, she lives what we hope for at the end of time when
death, 'the last enemy,' will be destroyed; she already lives what we
proclaim in the Creed: 'I look for the resurrection of the dead and the
life of the world to come.'"
"Dear friends," the Pontiff said, "Let us not limit ourselves to admire
Mary in her glorious destiny, as a person who is far from us: no! We
are called to see what the Lord, in his love, also willed for us, for
our final destiny: to live through faith in perfect communion of love
with him and thus to truly live."
Benedict XVI went on to clarify what it means to be assumed into heaven.
"All of us are conscious today that with the term 'heaven,' we do not
refer to some place in the universe, to a star or something similar:
no," he said. "We refer to something much bigger and more difficult to
define with our limited human concepts. With this term 'heaven,' we
mean to affirm that God, the God who has made himself close to us, does
not abandon us, not even in death and beyond it, but that he has a
place for us and he gives us eternity; we want to affirm that there is
a place for us in God."
The Holy Father illustrated this by reflecting on how a person who has
died continues to somehow exist in the minds and hearts of his loved
This subsistence, though, is "as a 'shadow,'" the Pope added, "because
this survival in the heart of his loved ones is also destined to end."
On the other hand, "God never passes" and "all of us exist because of
"We exist," the Pontiff affirmed, "because he loves us, because he has
thought of us and called us to life. We exist in the thoughts and love
of God. We exist in all our reality, not only in our 'shadow.' Our
serenity, our hope, our peace are founded precisely on this: on God, on
his thought and on his love, it is not only a 'shadow' of ourselves
that survives, but that in him, in his creative love, we are kept and
introduced with our whole life, with our whole being into eternity."
Whole and entire
The Bishop of Rome further explained that in this space of heaven, the
whole of the person "receives eternity."
He said that "each one of us will not continue existing only in a part
that has been, so to speak, wrenched from us, while the rest is ruined;
it means rather that God knows and loves the whole man, what we are.
And God receives in his eternity what now, in our life, made up of
suffering and love, of hope, of joy and sadness, grows and comes to be.
The whole man, the whole of his life is taken by God and, purified in
him, receives eternity."
"I think this is a truth that should fill us with joy," the Pope
affirmed. "Christianity does not proclaim merely a certain salvation of
the soul in some imprecise place beyond, in which everything in this
world that was precious and loved by us is erased, but it promises
eternal life, 'the life of the world to come': Nothing of what is
precious and loved will be ruined, but will find its fulfillment in
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