After Jesus Himself, no human person has even been celebrated, praised, and honoured more than His very mother, Mary immaculate. She was spoken of in prophecy almost at the beginning of the scriptures, prophesied further throughout the rest of the Old Testament, came to the world to deliver the world its saviour, and has been honoured and invoked for intercession before the throne of her Son ever since. Let’s take a look at why.
Almost immediately after Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, God’s earthly paradise, God cursed the serpent for tempting them and said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The woman that God spoke of, of course, was Eve. But the Church has always seen Eve as a foreshadowing figure (called a “type” in Catholic theology) of Mary. Only a few verses later in Genesis 3:20 we see that Eve was named so by Adam because Eve “was the mother of all living” — Surely Mary is the real Mother of all the truly living since all who now live, live in Christ (see Galatians 2:20). The fact that this “woman” in Genesis is a type of Mary is bolstered by the words of God who says that the “seed” of the woman (being Jesus) will crush the head of the serpent’s “seed.”
So, then, we see that “the Fall,” the birth of sin in the world, came through a man, a woman, and a tree. Immediately following, God tells us that redemption will come through a man, and a woman, and those of us who have read ahead in the story know that a tree was involved in redemption too (see 1 Peter 2:24)! This shows us that, while Jesus is definitely He who won our salvation for us, Mary’s role was crucial in cooperating with Jesus and thus “co-redeemed” with Him. This is why Mary is titled and hailed as “Co-redemptrix” in the Church. This explains what Simeon says to her in Luke 2:35 “… a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” That is to say, Mary will also suffer and sorrow with her Son (and for her Son) for the redemption of the world.
Just as Adam and Eve were created and came in to the world knowing no sin (they were perfect), so too was Jesus perfect (He was God!) and so was Mary perfect. Mary, born to St Joachim and St Anne (see the Protoevangelium of James), and honoured as “Full of Grace” by the Angel Gabriel in Luke 1:28, was conceived without original sin — Remember that original sin is merely a lack of grace that one is born with, therefore if Mary is “full of grace,” she has no original sin.
Because Mary had no sin, she was never subject to corruption and death, which came into the world only because of sin, and so the Church affirmed that she was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life. Catholic tradition sees the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary since the woman there gives birth to the saviour and is mentioned right after the author sees the Ark of the Covenant (which Catholic tradition holds to have been replaced by Mary since she was the spotless vessel that carried He who was the new law, the eternal high priest, and the true bread from heaven, and was constantly overshadowed by the presence of God the Holy Spirit) at the end of chapter 11 (keep in mind that the books of the Bible were originally composed without chapters). Mary’s assumption is none other than a reaping of the first fruits that all who fall asleep in Christ will receive at the resurrection of the dead.