St. Juvenal on Mary's Assumption
Fr. Scott A. Haynes
In the year 451, the Bishops of the Church were gathered in an ecumenical council of the Church at Chalcedon. In attendance at this important council was the Emperor Marcian, a good Catholic and a devotee of the Blessed Mother. He was permitted to address the Holy and the Bishops:
“Reverend Fathers, find for me the body of God’s Mother. It is my imperial desire and determination to build for it a beautiful shrine. Surely this immaculate body is world’s most precious relic, and it deserves for its monument a mighty basilica. Find for me, I beg of you, Reverend Fathers, the body that was once the shrine of the Incarnate Word of God.”
The Bishop of Jerusalem, St. Juvenal, stood up to make a reply to the request of the Emperor Martian. He explained that Mary died in the presence of the apostles. Since Thomas the Apostle was absent at her death, he asked the other apostles to open her tomb so that he could venerate her body. It was empty.
When a child loses his mother, he always seeks her out. And if a boy’s mother dies, he visits her grave. The fact that no remains of the Immaculate Virgin's body were ever spoken of anywhere is evidence that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven at the end of her earthly life.
How many sons would place their mother in heaven, body and soul, if it were in their power, sparing their beloved mother the decay of the grave. There is only one son who could carry out such a desire – it is the Son of Mary. Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, wanted to reward the extraordinary holiness of his Mother Mary by bodily receiving her into heaven when the Father, in the fullness of time, would call her to the court of heaven.
There, in that kingdom of light, Mary is enthroned as our Mother and Queen, because Christ so willed it. And from heaven our the Immaculate looks down on us with tender compassion, interceding for us. Just as at the wedding feast at Cana, she turns to her beloved Son to tell him our needs and to win for us grace everlasting.