Queen of Heaven
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars…” (Revelation, 12:1)
The Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady commemorates her passing from this earthly scene to be reunited for ever with her divine Son in Heaven. So the saintly Bishop Ken wrote in one of his lovely hymns:
“Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced,
next to his throne her Son his Mother placed;
and here below, now she's of heaven possessed,
all generations are to call her blessed”. (1)
We honour her, therefore, not so much as she was but as she is now; not as someone who lived a pure and holy life in Northern Palestine long ago, but as one who is radiantly alive in Heaven as we sit here.
That is the attitude of mind with which we think of our own departed relatives and friends in Purgatory. When we pray for them we may remember what they did and said and were like in this life, but our love and care for them belong to the present rather than the past. For what separates us from them is not the years that have passed since we last saw them, but the veil of invisibility which hangs between this life and the next.
But so far as the Saints are concerned, there is the curious notion that, though they lived in the past and we may hope to see them in the future, yet so far as the present goes they have no existence – they have temporarily faded out. The absurdity of such an idea is obvious when it is put into words. The truth of the matter is, in fact, constantly kept before us by the Creed and by the Feasts and Festivals of the Church.