“Mondays with Mary” – 10 Quotes by Pope St. John Paul II on the Assumption of Mary

Since tomorrow, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church (in the Eastern rites of the Church, today, August 14 is the Dormition of Mary – see my blog post from 2013 titled, Breathing with the Two Lungs of the Church for the Assumption of Mary), I thought I would use today’s “Mondays with Mary” as a way to continue my ever growing catechesis on this important dogma of the Catholic Church.

Ever growing because if you include this post, I have written on the Assumption of Mary 8 times over the past 5 years. It’s an important dogma to the Church and is the culmination of the other three Marian dogmas – Theotokos (God-Bearer), Perpetual Virginity, and Immaculate Conception. For a complete understanding of all four of these dogmas, I would suggest reading my book, Understanding Catholic Teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone that reads this blog and these series on a regular basis, but for those of you that are new, I am a big Pope St. John Paul II fan. I attribute his papacy to my intellectual conversion as well as all that I do for the Catholic Church in my current position and in my writings on here.

So for today’s post on the Assumption of Mary, here are 10 quotes from different homilies, audiences, and Angelus’ given by Pope St. John Paul II during his 26 year reign –

1. “In her, assumed into heaven, we are shown the eternal destiny that awaits us beyond the mystery of death: a destiny of total happiness in divine glory. This supernatural vision sustains our daily pilgrimage. Mary teaches about life. By looking at her, we understand better the relative value of earthly greatness and the full sense of our Christian vocation.”

2. “Taken up into heaven, Mary shows us the way to God, the way to heaven, the way to life. She shows it to her children baptized in Christ and to all people of good will. She opens this way especially to the little ones and to the poor, those who are dear to divine mercy. The Queen of the world reveals to individuals and to nations the power of the love of God whose plan upsets that of the proud, pulls down the mighty from their thrones and exalts the humble, fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich empty away (cf. Lk 1:51-53).”

3. “Mary’s Assumption is an event that concerns us precisely because every human being is destined to die. But death is not the last word. Death – the mystery of the Virgin’s Assumption assures us – is the passage to life, the encounter with Love. It is the passage to the eternal happiness in store for those who toil for truth and justice and do their utmost to follow Christ.”

Fra Angelico – Assumption

4. “The Solemnity of Mary’s Assumption into heaven reminds us that Mary has returned to the Father’s house in body and soul, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of peace towards which we are all journeying. This is the reason why the Church, which addresses the Mother of the Lord by the title of Queen of Heaven, also loves to invoke her with the fitting name of Queen of Peace.”

5. “Mary shines on earth “until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God” (Lumen gentiumn. 68). A caring mother to everyone, she supports the efforts of believers and encourages them to persevere in their commitment. Here I am thinking most particularly of young people, who are more exposed to the attractions and temptations of fleeting myths and false teachers.”

6. “Mary, glorified in her body, appears today as the star of hope for the Church and for humanity on its way towards the third Christian millennium. Her sublime exaltation does not distance her from her people or from the world’s problems, on the contrary, it enables her to watch effectively over human affairs with that attentive concern with which she obtained the first miracle from Jesus at the wedding in Cana.”

7. “Today the Church celebrates Mary’s glorious Assumption body and soul into Heaven. The two dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are closely related. Both proclaim the glory of Christ the Redeemer and the holiness of Mary, whose human destiny is even now perfectly and definitively realized in God.”

8. “Chosen by God as the purest vessel in which to “come and dwell” among men, Mary, at the end of her earthly existence, was immediately taken up into heaven. This is why the Christian community, in a renowned hymn, joyfully sings her praise and invokes her: “Hail, O steadfast foundation of faith; / Hail, O shining emblem of grace…. /Hail, O key to the kingdom of Christ / Hail, O Hope for the ages of bliss…. / Hail, for the heavenly rejoice with the earth; / Hail, for the earthly meet the heavens in song!” (Akathistos).”

9. “In Mary and in the mystery of her Assumption, every person is called to discover the bold, connatural end of life, according to the plan established by the Creator: in other words, to be conformed to Christ, the incarnate Word, authentic image of the heavenly Father, to join him on the journey of faith and to rise with him to the fullness of blessed life.”

10. “Today Mary seems even closer to us: from heaven she sees us and protects us. Contemplation of paradise does not distance us from the earth; indeed on the contrary, it is an incentive to us to work with all our might to transform our world in view of eternity. In our minds resounds the Apostle’s invitation to seek the “things that are above” (Col 3:1), where an eternal dwelling place is prepared for us in the common house of the Father.”

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven…Pray for Us

Pope Saint John Paul II…Pray for Us

Pope St. John Paul II on the Queenship of Mary

Beatification Pic of JP IIEveryone that has ever really taken the time to listen or read Pope St. John Paul II will know that his love for the Blessed Mother began in his youth, after the passing of his own mother. He put his trust in her as Advocate and never looked back. Pope St. John Paul II is on the cusp of being canonized a saint. Here is the Polish saint speaking about the Queenship of Mary from 1997 –

“Popular devotion invokes Mary as Queen. The Council, after recalling the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in “‘body and soul into heavenly glory’”, explains that she was “exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rv 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death” (Lumen Gentium, n. 59).

In fact, starting from the fifth century, almost in the same period in which the Council of Ephesus proclaims her “Mother of God”, the title of Queen begins to be attributed to her. With this further recognition of her sublime dignity, the Christian people want to place her above all creatures, exalting her role and importance in the life of every person and of the whole world.

But already a fragment of a homily, attributed to Origen, contains this comment on the words Elizabeth spoke at the Visitation “It is I who should have come to visit you, because you are blessed above all women, you are the Mother of my Lord, you are my Lady” (Fragment, PG 13, 1902 D). The text passes spontaneously from the expression “the Mother of my Lord” to the title, “my Lady”, anticipating what St John Damascene was later to say, attributing to Mary the title of “Sovereign”: “When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became queen of all creatures” (De fide orthodoxa, 4, 14, PG 94, 1157)…In looking at the analogy between Christ’s Ascension and Mary’s Assumption, we can conclude that Mary, in dependence on Christ, is the Queen who possesses and exercises over the universe a sovereignty granted to her by her Son.

The title of Queen does not of course replace that of Mother: her queenship remains a corollary of her particular maternal mission and simply expresses the power conferred on her to carry out that mission.

Queen Mother

Citing Pius IX’s Bull Ineffabilis Deus, the Supreme Pontiff highlights this maternal dimension of the Blessed Virgin’s queenship: “Having a motherly affection for us and being concerned for our salvation, she extends her care to the whole human race. Appointed by the Lord as Queen of heaven and earth, raised above all the choirs of angels and the whole celestial hierarchy of saints, sitting at the right hand of her only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, she obtains with great certainty what she asks with her motherly prayers; she obtains what she seeks and it cannot be denied her” (cf. AAS 46 [1954] 636-637).

Therefore Christians look with trust to Mary Queen and this not only does not diminish but indeed exalts their filial abandonment to her, who is mother in the order of grace.

Indeed, the concern Mary Queen has for mankind can be fully effective precisely by virtue of her glorious state which derives from the Assumption. St Germanus I of Constantinople, highlights this very well. He holds that this state guarantees Mary’s intimate relationship with her Son and enables her to intercede in our favour. Addressing Mary he says: Christ wanted “to have, so to speak, the closeness of your lips and your heart; thus he assents to all the desires you express to him, when you suffer for your children, with his divine power he does all that you ask of him” (Hom. 1 PG 98, 348).

One can conclude that the Assumption favours Mary’s full communion not only with Christ, but with each one of us: she is beside us, because her glorious state enables her to follow us in our daily earthly journey. As we read again in St Germanus: “You dwell spiritually with us and the greatness of your vigilance over us makes your communion of life with us stand out” (Hom. 1, PG 98, 344).

Thus far from creating distance between her and us, Mary’s glorious state brings about a continuous and caring closeness. She knows everything that happens in our life and supports us with maternal love in life’s trials.

Taken up into heavenly glory, Mary dedicates herself totally to the work of salvation in order to communicate to every living person the happiness granted to her. She is a Queen who gives all that she possesses, participating above all in the life and love of Christ.”