Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Beloved in Jesus Christ, today is the Assumption of Mary into heaven; When a great saint passes from this life to the next – – we can think of John Paul II, or Mother Theresa, or Padre Pio for example – when such a saint passes from this life, the body is attended at the Funeral with so much love and reverence – well, it could not be any different with the end of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No doubt, all of Jesus’ disciples who were at Jerusalem[i] drew near to the bier that carried the Holy body of Mary; – feeling themselves so favored to have gazed on her lovely face and spoken with her in life.
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St. John Damascene says it is quite probable that then a great many miracles took place, as has happened at the deaths of other saints.
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As Gentilucci(ii) says, when the hour arrived to carry to the grave the sacred body of Mary, the Apostles took on their shoulders this sweet burden; the priests and Deacons and a multitude of men and women accompanied them, full of joy and weeping, because all wished to be near the Mother of God. As the funeral procession reached the base of the Mt of Olives in the Valley of Josaphat, they placed her in the tomb. At first, the people did not depart, but remained by the tomb, and they could hear some kind of heavenly music in the air.
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On the 3rd day, there finally arrived St. Thomas who was the only apostle who had not been present. As he heard everything described, his face was covered with tears and he asked to see the tomb. As they opened the tomb, amidst the scent of roses, they saw the cloths in which the body had been wrapped, but no body – she had been assumed to heaven. The heavenly music could still be heard, as they sealed again the tomb, and pondered this marvel of God.
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This account of the resurrection and assumption of Mary is given by St. John Damascene, St. Basil, St. Juvenal of Jerusalem, and others. St. Nicephorus says, that from the Holy Apostles this has been handed down to our day.’
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Friends in Christ, this is the most common of the various accounts that have come down to us, but we can’t be sure of the details of what occurred at that time; but that Mary was raised in body and soul is true, and it is for sure most fitting in the economy of salvation for many reasons:
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For example, it was required because of Mary’s intimate union with her Son, since Our Lord’s risen flesh in heaven is the same flesh taken from Mary who conceived him.
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It was required, because of her holy and sinless life, which made her the Queen of all the saints. Therefore it was fitting that she should be assumed into heaven. And if Our Savior so honored and loved his Mother on earth, how could he not honor her this way in heaven?
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At the resurrection of Christ, scripture says that some others rose from the dead at the same time, and many theologians believe that those ascended to heaven with Christ; if this is true of them, how can it not be true of the Mother of God?
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Of course it is a Dogma of the Holy Faith, that Mary was taken, body and soul to heaven. If any ask of where is this in the bible, we can easily point to the 12th chapter of Revelation, in which seen in heaven, is Mary, clothed with the sun.
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If anyone wishes to go to pray at the sacred remains of Mary, they would find that it is impossible, because of all the saints whose mortal remains are honored, there exist no such remains for Mary, only her empty tomb near the Mt. of Olives; because she is not here, she is risen and assumed to heaven.
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So today we honor this dear Mother, who has not only led us on the way by the example of a holy life, but who shows us as well the destiny promised to her children: resurrection and glorification of our whole self, body and soul.
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Let us conclude with words of Msgr. Gentilucci: ‘If Mary ascended to heaven without even leaving us her mortal remains, well – she does not any less have a tender love for us. Let us rejoice then, that Mary anticipates for ourselves the resurrection promised to all the just.

 

[i] It seems most probable that Mary lived at Ephesus (Mary’s House) for a time; it is a debated point whether her death was at Ephesus or Jerusalem. Gentilucci provides a thorough study of this question, settling on Jerusalem. p. 426.

 

[ii]The traditions mentioned here can be found in Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by R. Gentilucci.

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