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Rahner on the Assumption of Mary

We cannot confess anything in regard to her assumption more glorious than what we confess as our hope for ourselves: eternal life, which God himself wants to be for us. For the hope we have for our whole person in the unity of our existence – that single existence which we explain to ourselves as a unity of body and soul – is the resurrection of the body and eternal life. In our liturgical praise of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin we seek only of the one act of God in regard to that one person, but it is something that we likewise expect for ourselves. Ultimately, nothing more is said of her than what God one day, we hope, will say to us…We profess our faith in the permanent validity of history as flesh and blood; we profess our hope and love for the earth, which is not merely the parade ground or theater for our spiritual life, to be abandoned as soon as finality supervenes, and which perhaps itself, even though radically transformed, enters equally with the person’s spirit into the glory of the eternal God.

We acknowledge the dignity of the body, which is not merely a tool to be used and thrown away, but the historical, concrete reality and revelation of the free person who is realized in it and works within it for the finality of its freedom…this feast tells us that those whom God loves are redeemed, are saved, are finally themselves; they are so with their concrete history, with their whole bodily nature in which alone a person is truly himself. He is not a ‘ghost,’ not a ‘soul,’ but a human being completely saved. Everything remains. We can’t imagine it. Of course not. All talk about the soul in bliss, the glorified body, the glory of heaven amounts to the unvarnished, blind statement of faith: this person is not lost. He is what he has become, raised up in the implacable obviousness and absoluteness of the living God, raised up in the transcendent, ineffable mystery we call God.

We can’t say more than this. We don’t try to paint a picture, we don’t imagine anything. Everything has gone through the harsh transformation we call death. What else could we say except that death is not the last word – or rather that it is our last word, but not God’s.

 Karl Rahner, The Great Church Year: The Best of Karl Rahner’s Homilies, Sermons, and Meditations, 348-351

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