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Vigils Reading – B.V.M.
November 12, 2022
Just as Mary was redeemed in advance so that the Word could become Flesh, so too–now that heaven is accessible to us through Christ’s death and resurrection–the holy City, the universal Church, the Communion of Saints is there already in full perfection, so that those who are sanctified can be incorporated into it. All of this results from an in-depth meditation on the biblical texts if they are seen alongside each other and if their interior consequences are thought through. It is not of moment that the insight into this perfecting of Mary cannot be traced back to the very earliest Christian centuries: the thorough reflection on revelation and its deeper implications requires a certain span of time. And the hidden truth concerning Mary-the Church entered very early as an essential aspect of the truth about the Son of the Father and the conditions for his incarnation not only into the consciousness of isolated theologians, but of the Christian people which has the instinct for the faith.
Surely it cannot be doubted that Mary really died a human death; she did not simply pass from an earthly into a heavenly state. Even if death, as we know it today, “came into the world through sin”, nevertheless Christ took precisely this death of sin upon himself in order to expiate it from within and transform it into an act of free self-surrender to the Father.
If we learn to die from her who learned to die in the manner of her Son, then we need not be worried about what will become of our human totality after our death. It will be God’s business that we reach him not as mere halves of ourselves, but as whole persons. With Christ and with Mary the created world has already been taken up into transformation and transfiguration, and the Last Day has already begun. World history does indeed continue still, but in eternal life there is no time that corresponds to historical time. We cannot, of course, plumb the mystery of our bodily resurrection; it is quite enough for us to know that the heavenly City–Christ, Head and Body, Christ, Bridegroom and Bride–will be there corporeally when we make our crossing to take us up into itself. And just as this Christ in heaven is, at the same time, the Christ who distributes himself eucharistically on earth and thus builds up the earthly Church, so even our heavenly joy will in part consist in our working with Christ in the perfecting of our earthly brothers and sisters and in our being connecting links between earth and heaven.