One glance at a daily newspaper or a television news show will tell you that some people do not value human life. But this is not news. During the Holocaust of World War II, millions of people were tortured and killed. This terrible tragedy led many people to wonder about human life. How valuable is a single human life? How valuable are the lives of the elderly, the unborn, the terminally ill? Are their lives worth as much as those of people who are healthy and active, working, and raising families?
God creates human life and gives it value. And Jesus gave his life on the cross to redeem each individual human person. By doing this, Jesus said, “Your life is worth my dying to save you.” Through his own Resurrection, Jesus showed us the glory of our resurrection and of our living in the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that the body and soul of a person, separated at death, will be joined together again in glory at the Last Judgment. The person will be whole for all eternity.
The feast of Mary’s Assumption is a preview of what our lives will be. At the end of her earthly life, Mary was assumed, or taken up, into heaven body and soul. She did not have to wait for the end of the world, as we do. God granted her this special privilege because of her sinlessness and her fullness of grace.
The Church has always believed in Mary’s assumption into heaven. But on November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII focused the attention of the whole world on the Assumption of Mary as a dogma and mystery of our faith. This mystery shows us that God wants every human person, body and soul, to be in glory forever, just as Mary is now. This dogma shows how important every single human life is. Pope Plus XII hoped that by thinking about Mary’s Assumption, people all over the world would develop a deeper respect for their own lives and their own bodies. He also hoped that people would grow in respect for the lives of others.