Flesh. What is flesh? Organic cells forming bones, muscles, organs, nerves, blood, skin. The flesh of animals, fur covered, which dwell in forests and fields. The flesh of fish, wet and slippery, which swim in oceans, rivers, and lakes. The flesh of reptiles, smooth or coarse, the flesh of birds, feathered and flying, the flesh of insects, amphibians, and every creature that has ever lived or ever will live. Even the trees, grasses, and flowers have flesh, fibrous or petaled, living things that sway in the breezes while rooted in the earth. Flesh is essential to life here. Every living creature dwells within its material existence, unable to have definition, to live in particular space at a particular time, or to relate to oneself or others without flesh.
When God chose to live upon His created Earth, He could not fulfill His will without taking on flesh. God dwells within, throughout, and beyond all of His Creation, but in order to become one of us, His beloved human creatures, He needed cells, bones, muscles, organs, nerves, blood, and skin. The Divine Word — through Whom all things are made — assumed human nature, assumed human flesh.
Humankind has forever been changed by this. We might falsely assume that our lives are solely dependent upon the needs of our flesh, that our time of existence can only be measured by the flesh, but when Jesus died — really, bodily — He rose again in glorified body and ascended into the spiritual realm of Heaven. Human flesh is no longer perishable when glorified. Human life is no longer subject to earthly needs and earthly time when resurrected. God assumed earthly flesh, our flesh, and transforms it into heavenly reality that is dependent only upon infinite mercy and eternal love — dependent only on God.
When we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, do not assume that this is only a feast day for the mother of Jesus. The Virgin Mary is the Mother of all of the living in Christ. She is the Mother of God — without her, without her willing human heart and her life-giving human flesh, God would not have taken on flesh — and she was taken up by God, body and soul, to live the fullness of the heavenly reality now, without waiting for the end of time. She is wholly and truly who she has always been, she is fully alive in the fullness of her humanity — one person of flesh and spirit — now and without ceasing. When we allow the Holy Spirit to unite Christ’s mind and heart to our minds and hearts, and our minds and hearts to His, then we live in union with Christ. We are one with Christ, and the Mother of God is our Mother too.
We can faithfully assume, then, that the Feast of the Assumption is our Feast too. We celebrate the wonder and beauty of being human — divinely beloved creatures of flesh and spirit — and honor the profound goodness of the human body, of our bodies, created and sanctified by the loving power of God, now and forever.
© 2019 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.