The Church is only Triumphant because it is Militant. There is no victory where there is no battle, there is no prize where there is no contest, and there is no wage where there is no labor. This truth is so compelling that Job says that the life of man upon earth is a warfare (Job 7:1). And although Heaven is the place of victory after the battle, Heaven itself is in a posture of war. The first battle of all time was waged in heaven between St. Michael and Lucifer, and since then, the angels have helped men fight the evil spirits. In the Old Testament the angels are often referred to as “hosts”, just like we chant in the Sanctus of the Mass.
Our Lord Himself calls His Church the Kingdom of Heaven, but He is referring to the Church Militant on earth. In union with Christ, the citizens of Heaven attend to the Church militant on earth. The communication between heaven and earth is intensively described in the Apocalypse. The angels assist the hierarchy of the Church moving through 7 ages of warfare; in bloody periods of persecution, in dark periods of blatant heresy, in confusing times of doctrinal and moral corruption. Yet the “gates of Hell shall not prevail” and Our Lord constantly urges His soldiers “to have their loins girt” at all times. St. Peter urges Catholics “to be sober and watch for the devil, like a roaring lion goes about seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet 5:8).
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven is the greatest sign of the victory of Christ in His Church. She was assumed before all others because She shared more completely than any other in Christ’s victory. She is Christ’s victory over Original Sin in Her Immaculate Conception, and His victory over actual sin by Her standing at the foot of the Cross against the greatest fury of hell against Christ. Never a victim of Satan but always conquering Him, She conquers Him still now in the Church Militant on earth. She conquers Him by Her unceasing concern and prayer for Her embattled children. Only with Her can we win the crown with Christ.
Let us be as serious in this warfare as soldiers of this earth are in their battles. Let us lift up our hearts to this great mystery of Christ’s victory in Mary, and let us conquer sin, every single one, both in ourselves and in the world, in real devotion to Mary. Ave Maria!