When we meditate upon the fourth glorious mystery, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we should be meditating upon love; namely, the loving union of a soul with God. To better understand the loving union between Mary and her Son that led to the Assumption, I would like to offer an unusual example: levitation. As unfamiliar as this example may be, I believe that it can nevertheless give us a deeper insight into what exactly transpired during Mary’s Assumption into heaven.
St. Catherine of Siena, a great Dominican mystic and Doctor of the Church, was widely reported by many different witnesses to have experienced levitation on multiple occasions. In her crowning spiritual work, The Dialogue, St. Catherine explains the inner spiritual realities that result in levitation. The explanation comes during the Heavenly Father’s concluding remarks to St. Catherine about the stages a soul must rise through to attain perfect love.
God the Father, speaking of St. Catherine, says, “Though she is mortal she tastes the reward of the immortals, and weighed down still with the body she receives the lightness of the spirit. Often, therefore, the body is lifted up from the ground because of the perfect union of the soul with me, as if the heavy body had become light.” Thus, what draws her body up from the ground is the loving union of her soul with God. In short, the soul is drawn up in love so powerfully that the body is simply along for the ride!
Our Heavenly Father continues, “It is not because its heaviness has been taken away, but because the union of the soul with me is more perfect than the union between the soul and the body. And for this reason the strength of the spirit united with me lifts the body’s weight off the ground.” Now we can begin to see the connection to the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. Just as the lives of the saints give us a glimpse of heavenly love here on earth, so also are the numerous examples of levitation throughout the history of the Church a glimpse of the perfect heavenly love of Jesus for His mother Mary that led to her Assumption.
The connection does not stop here, however, as He continues His explanation to St. Catherine: “So I want you to know that it is a greater marvel to see the soul not leaving the body in this union than to see a host of dead bodies resurrected.” Thus, we can see how God’s glorious Providence and love is woven throughout all levels of being “raised up.” It will be a great marvel at the end of time when all our bodies are resurrected by the Love of God, an even greater marvel to see the soul drawing the body towards God in the loving union of levitation, but the greatest marvel of all is the bodily Assumption of our Blessed Mother in perfect loving union with Her Resurrected Son in Heaven.
Such loving union of souls with God — including our own! — is what we are all called to meditate on during the Fourth Glorious Mystery.
Br. John Winkowitsch, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE