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Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

My dear encountered couples:

Today’s feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven is not only to give praise and honor to Mary for devoting her life to the Will of God. Today’s feast is also to show us that God values our bodies. They are not only important to him. They are sacred!

There are two extremes of thought in regard to our bodies. One considers the body as our number one treasure. Ads and commercials usually feature people with exceptional looks. To be successful, accepted, and loved, they tell us, depends upon how we look. We are to watch our weight, keep in shape, and smell just right. If we don’t pamper our bodies and treat them royally, we’ll be social, business, and sexual flops. Nobody will want us around. As for the importance of your soul and your spiritual life? Forget it! They consider such things nonexistent and absurd.

The other extreme of thought about the body is to look upon it as merely a machine for us to operate in this world. Its value is only its usefulness. To enhance it with cosmetics and perfume, to dress it up and make it look attractive, to diet, exercise, and look at it in the mirror - all that is not only a waste of time, but sinful. The soul and its spiritual condition is all that is important for us. Think of your body only when necessity requires.

In one camp of these two extremes are people who say nothing is important but our bodies, our looks. In the other camp people say that we should ignore our bodies. After all, “it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s on the inside.” I believe God is telling us on this feast of the Assumption that to him, both are important - your body and your soul. They are both to be valued, and they are to be given the attention and honor due them.

You are not just a body; you are not just a soul. You are a union of both body and soul. They affect one another intimately. Both are to be treasured and developed. What is good for one will be good for the other. Form within yourself, in your soul, a good and holy character in the likeness of Christ and your body will take on a glow of regal dignity and amazing strength. Keep your body healthy and conditioned and your spirit will be uplifted and invigorated.

Your soul and body are to cooperate with one another and help one another reach their eternal destiny. They were never meant to make war on each other in a bid for domination. They are equally you. One without the other is not really human, can never be completely you. The day will come, of course, when you will exist without your present body. But since God created you as a union of both the physical and spiritual, you will be given a new body in eternity.

As Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God now lives in heaven — body and soul - so will you — if you value correctly what and who you are. God raises lowly people to high places, Mary said. That means us; that means you — body and soul.

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