Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!"

Regarding the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Pius XII "pronounces, declares, and defines" that "the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory" (Munificentissimus Deus). Deliberately left unanswered is the question of whether or not the Blessed Virgin "died." The Eastern Church has long celebrated the "Dormition" (the "falling asleep") of Our Lady.
Without delving into the arguments of "immortalists" and "mortalists," etc., I thought it pertinent to post what St. John of the Cross writes in his commentary on the first stanza of the Living Flame of Love, regarding the experience of death in persons far advanced in their union with God.
He comments on the verse "tear through the veil of this sweet encounter":
"It should be known that the natural death of persons who have reached this state [i.e., spiritual marriage] is far different in its cause and mode from the death of others, even though it is similar in natural circumstances. If the death of other people is caused by sickness or old age, the death of these persons is not so induced, in spite of their being sick or old; their soul is not wrested from them unless by some impetus and encounter of love, far more sublime than previous ones; of greater power, and more valiant, since it tears through this veil and carries off the jewel, which is the soul.
"The death of such persons is very gentle and very sweet, sweeter and more gentle than was their whole spiritual life on earth. For they die with the most sublime impulses and delightful encounters of love ..." (LF, 1.30).

One might imagine the Blessed Virgin Mary experiencing such a transitus, a seamless surrender to love now consummated, a moment wherein she experiences a definitive and glorious embrace by God, her Father, her Son, and her Spouse.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I write from Madrid, my name is Catalina de Jesús and I am OCDS,Thanks for this blog, I enjoy to find it, and I want to invite you to our Carmelite Community web ( and also to my "little blog" about Love of God ( all my pray for you, specially for the new postulant.