Catholic teachings about Mary’s role in salvation history always underscore the power and mercy of God, the role of Jesus Christ as redeemer of mankind, and the ideal relationship with God to which all mankind can and must aspire. Our Lady’s exalted status as the perfect disciple is not meant to exclude the remainder of humanity from a special relationship with God, but is intended as a reminder that we are all called to strive for a more perfect union with God. Her special place in our faith does not negate the Universal Call to Holiness, but rather emphasizes it. In Mary we see salvation in fast-forward, and we witness not only what man could have had without the tragedy of the Fall, but also what man will have in the beatific vision and at the end of time. Without subtracting from Our Lady’s rightly exalted status among humankind, we can see that each of her special graces is an illustration in more brilliant tones of the graces mankind will receive at some point. The Assumption of Our Lady shows us, not only the special place accorded to Mary in the drama of salvation, but also what we will one day enjoy as saints in Heaven. To say that Our Lady was assumed into Heaven body and soul is to state that she was given at her death what we will be given at the end of time, namely, her glorified body. She was given the singular privilege of uniting her glorified body with God in the beatific vision immediately. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states,
“The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians…” (CCC 491)
The Blessed Mother, in her complete submission of self to the will of God, is the perfect disciple of her Son and Redeemer. She shows us what it means to be a prayerful, obedient, joyful follower of Christ. Receiving the merits and graces of the Redemption of Preemptively, she was saved from the devastating effects of concupiscence and made a vessel of the Holy Spirit and the Mediatrix of grace to all mankind. She is, according to Lumen Gentium, “redeemed in a more exalted fashion by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie”. Therefore, she is not only the perfect disciple and an example and icon for us all, but, as the mother of God, has the joy of interceding for us in order to help us become perfect disciples ourselves. Our Lady is not a spendthrift of grace, but rather a generous and loving mother who wishes to share her gifts in order that we may also enjoy communion with the God whose glory her soul proclaims. Perfect holiness such as that enjoyed by Our Lady seeks to share itself and to bring others into union with God, in Whose Presence love experiences its source and perfection. Misery only wants company, but sanctity and perfect love seek communion.