In his famous sonnet “Death, Be Not Proud,” John Donne wrote: Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow; Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
Donne’s words could be Mary’s too. Death couldn’t defeat her either! She was taken body and soul into heaven at the end of her life. She was preserved from the normal effects of death, the effects brought about by sin.
Today, as we celebrate Mary’s Assumption, we also celebrate the promise of what awaits us: we will one day be in heaven with Jesus. “In Christ,” we “shall . . . be brought to life” (1 Corinthians 15:22). While we’re still on earth, we can prepare for that day by learning from Mary’s life: she tried to stay close to Jesus. When the angel appeared to her, she said yes to God’s invitation to become the mother of God. And from that moment on, she was completely committed to her Son—in raising him, in following his preaching, even in his death. This kind of commitment, as challenging as it can be, is our way to heaven as well.
Though we haven’t been preserved from sin as Mary has been, God has nonetheless filled us with his grace and is always with us. He is always ready to help us follow him. He is always ready to forgive us and bring us back to him when we fall. Ultimately, our destiny is the same as Mary’s—eternal life; So keep running the race today. Picture your Mother cheering you on from heaven. She’s watching with pride and joy as you press on toward the day when you, too, will be crowned with glory.