Pope Francis said Mary’s Assumption into Heaven was a greater achievement than man’s first steps on the moon.
“In essence, humanity had reached a historic milestone,” said the pontiff in a message on Aug. 15.
“But today, in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, we celebrate an infinitely greater achievement. Our Lady set foot in Heaven,” said Pope Francis.
“This step of the little Virgin of Nazareth was the giant leap forward of mankind,” he added.
“Going to the moon serves us little if we do not live as brothers and sisters on Earth. But that one of us dwells in the flesh in Heaven gives us hope: we understand that we are precious, destined to rise again,” said Pope Francis.
The pontiff delivered his message during the celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Peter’s Square.
He said that in Mary’s assumption into Heaven, one sees life’s end goal: “not to gain the things here below, which are fleeting, but the patrimony above, which is forever.”
Catholics around the world celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary on Aug. 15.
The feast commemorates the end of Mary’s earthly life when God assumed her, body and soul, into heaven.
“Our Lady set foot in Heaven: she went there not only in spirit, but with her body as well, with all of herself,” said the pope.
“That one of us dwells in the flesh in Heaven gives us hope: we understand that we are precious, destined to rise again. God does not allow our bodies to vanish into nothing. With God, nothing is lost,” he said.
The pontiff said the life of the Virgin Mary is an example of how “the Lord works wonders with the little ones.”
He said that the Virgin Mary’s witness is a reminder to praise God each day, as the Mother of God did in her Magnificat prayer in which she exclaimed: “My soul glorifies the Lord.”
“We might ask ourselves,” he said. “‘Do we remember to praise God? Do we thank Him for the great things He does for us, for every day that He gives us because He always loves us and forgives us?’”
“How often, instead, we let ourselves be overwhelmed by difficulties and absorbed by fears,” he said. “Our Lady does not, because she puts God as the first greatness of life.”
“If, like Mary, we remember the great things that the Lord does, if at least once a day we ‘magnify’, we glorify Him, then we take a great step forward … our hearts will expand, joy will increase,” Pope Francis said.
In a message after praying the Angelus, the pope continued his message on the Feast of the Assumption, urging Catholics around the world to invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary “for all the situations in the world that are most in need of hope: hope for peace, for justice, hope for a dignified life.”
He encouraged the faithful to visit a Marian shrine to pray during the occasion.