Death came looking for her like a friend, toward the end of a very full day. She peacefully fell asleep while joyfully looking toward the future. Death had not been able to hold back her only Son in her arms. It did not hold back the Mother of God either. Mary had hardly gone to sleep when Jesus plucked her like the most beautiful rose in the garden. He took her up “body and soul into heavenly glory” (CCC 966). Corruption would not touch the body that received and carried Him, the arms that rocked Him, the lips that smiled at Him, or the hands that served Him. He welcomed her and crowned her. She is the queen of angels, of the new creation, and of humanity. Mary lifts them up. “Come, let us adore Christ. He went into Heaven. He prepared an eternal dwelling for His Mother.”
Then thousands of celebrating angels sang sublime melodies. They were the most beautiful harmonies that had ever been heard resonating under the vault of Heaven. The assembly of the firstborn whose names are inscribed in Heaven advanced amid cries of joy. They were dressed in white and were glowing and affected by love. Their wounds, imperfections, illnesses, and handicap were transcended and dressed in light. These told their story. All of them were going toward Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, who saved them by His blood and reconciled them to His Father.
The Father took each one of His children in His arms. He consoled them and wiped away their flowing tears. “It’s over, my little one, my beautiful one, my love. It’s over. You are forever saved and safe and secure.” The most bountiful earthly feasts are a pale reflection of this assembly’s magnificence. The purest earthly joys are nothing compared with the infinite happiness that took hold of everyone at this sight.
The Hope of Heaven
Mary’s Assumption into Heaven started with her saying yes in Nazareth. Each yes to God is a step toward Heaven and eternal life. For the Lord wants us all to be with Him in His home!— Pope Francis
Angels surrounded their sovereign and protégée. She was finally here! St. John of Damascus thought that Mary’s body was carried to the Garden of Gethsemane by the apostles and was “preceded and followed by a procession of angels, who covered her with their wings,” as in the past with the Ark of the Covenant.
“In Mary, indeed,” said Pope Benedict XVI, “we contemplate that reality of glory to which each one of us and the entire Church is called.” Mary’s fiat (her yes) echoed the dawn of the ages in the non serviam (I will not serve) of Lucifer and his angels: Yes, Lord, I really want to do Your will. For Your will is sweet. It is my joy and strength. I want to participate in humanity’s plan of salvation, for it is a happy plan.
The Angel Led Catherine to Mary
On the night of July 18–19, 1830, at 140 rue du Bac in Paris, in the Sisters of Charity convent, St. Catherine Labouré was awakened by a light that was illuminating her cell and by a small hand that was gently shaking her. A beautiful child was standing near her bed. He appeared to be four or five years old and was completely dressed in white. Rays of light emerged from him and lit up the room. Catherine wondered: “How did he get in?”
“Sister,” he said, “everybody is sound asleep. Come to the chapel. The Virgin Mary is waiting for you.”
Catherine did not know if she was dreaming or if all this was real. But she obeyed; she quickly got out of her bed and put her clothes on. She followed the child, who brightened the dark hallways with his presence. He led her to the chapel. There, she said, she heard the “rustling of a silk dress.” She saw a lady sitting in the choir near the altar, in the chair where the priest normally sat. The child said to Catherine: “Here is the Virgin Mary.”
The young nun did not move. She was astonished. The child repeated this a little louder: “Here is the Virgin Mary.”
Then Catherine hurried toward her Heavenly Mother. Falling to her knees, she put her hands on Mary’s lap. Mary gently spoke to her and gave her advice for her prayer life. What an extraordinary moment! Catherine later confided that it was “the sweetest moment of her life.”
The Virgin Mary spoke to her for two hours and entrusted her with the mission of having what we today call the Miraculous Medal made and promoted. Then the Virgin Mary went away. Catherine had the impression that every light was turned off all at once. The only thing that remained was the soft glow of the little angel, who led her back to her cell.
Fr. Lamy tells us:
Angels surrounded her with such simplicity and affection! God has given her thousands and thousands of them. She knows them all by name. They know her only by one name: Queen.
Father Boudon, in his introduction to the treatise La dévo-tion aux neuf choeurs des Saints Anges (The devotion to the nine choirs of the holy angels), writes:
Prostrated at your feet, O my powerful protector, I offer and you and dedicate this little work to you in honor of all of the nine choirs of angels, your faithful subjects, and the illustrious princes of your divine court. As you are their lovely Princess, their imposing Empress, and their glorious Lady, it is only fair that I dedicate what is in their best interest and what affects their glory.
Mary and the End Times
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort and Marthe Robin, who were separated by two centuries, both prophesied about the end times by announcing that Jesus would return in the same way He had come — through Mary! Each time we recite a Hail Mary, with the words of the angel Gabriel, we hasten the coming of Jesus in His glory and in our lives.
In the third secret of Fatima, which Sr. Lucia gave to the Vatican in 1944 and was made public on June 26, 2000, we see the Virgin Mary protecting humanity:
At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated toward him from her right hand.
We can have recourse to her in our great trials as well as our little sorrows, for she understands and perceives everything and rocks us in her lap, as Fr. Louis-Édouard Cestac tell us:
O good Mother, O sweet Mother, Immaculate Spouse of Heaven and Queen of the blessed spirits who contemplate Him with you in Heaven, you are and will always be our love, hope, help, and refuge.
“Our Home Is in Heaven”
The saints have so longed for the next life that they remind us that we are only passing through life on this earth. Mother Yvonne-Aimée de Malestroit said it well. She benefited from her guardian angel’s very attentive help to the point where she felt like him:
It seems that God first wanted to create me for Heaven. Then, changing His mind, He dropped me on the earth. The angel gave me this mysterious life of love, this insight into people and things, and these extraordinary abilities that the most educated men will never understand.
In His love, God gives us time to be fulfilled and reach our potential before being led to the perfect world where we will no longer change, grow older, or deteriorate, and where we will no longer be able to grow in holiness. Come as you are! Yes, we will be taken as we are.
So, let us take advantage of the time that is given us to grow even more! May we listen better, pay more attention to others, and grow in love.
My child, become Love. No one on this earth can prevent you from becoming what you were created to be, unless you give someone this power by listening to him instead of Me. I love you tenderly.Léandre Lachance, Pour le bonheur des Miens, Mes choisis — Jésus [For the happiness of my loved ones, my chosen ones — Jesus], vol. 1, no. 77
It is never easy to dive into the unknown. Is there a greater chasm than the one between this life and the next? Jesus Himself was afraid of it. But let us not fear this gate on the brink of which our earthly mother and our Heavenly Mother are waiting for us with a smile!
St. Michael, prince of the heavenly host, I beseech you to answer me. I beg you to take my soul into your most holy custody on the last day and to lead it to the place of refreshment, peace, and rest, where the souls of the saints wait with inexpressible joy for the upcoming judgment and glorious resurrection. Whether I am speaking or silent, watching, walking, or resting, help me to continue accomplishing my works in all that I do. Protect me from demons’ temptations and the pains of Hell.
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in the new book Encounters with Angels: The Invisible Companions of Our Spiritual Life. It is available from your favorite bookseller or online through Sophia Institute Press.