The Assumption Of Mary

 

‘And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”’ (Genesis 3:17-19)

There were a number of consequences as a result of sin entering into the world, through the disobedience of Adam and Eve and included in those was illness and death. ‘In a sense bodily death is natural, but for faith it is in fact “the wages of sin”. For those who die in Christ’s grace it is a participation in the death of the Lord, so that they can also share his Resurrection.’ (CCC 1006)

When we depart this earth we are separated, body from soul. Our earthly body is buried, or cremated, and our soul departs for the next life and waits to be reunited with our glorified body (cf. CCC 997). ‘Christ will raise us up “on the last day”’ (CCC 1002) at which time ‘God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls’ (CCC 997).

In other words, though death separates body from soul when we depart this life – with our body remaining here while our soul goes on ahead – our body and soul will be reunited in a more glorified form at the end of the world when Jesus raises the dead and changes our bodies into a spiritual one.

Mary, entered into what is known as her Dormition; she ‘fell asleep’. Her earthly life was completed and she was taken up body and soul into Heaven, that is, her body and soul were not separated by death as ours are, but remained united as she was assumed into eternal life with the Father.

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St John Damascene explains: ‘Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay… You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth.’ All that remained on earth was an empty tomb which stood on the edge of Jerusalem and which is now the site of the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary.

What is so singular about this event is not so much that Mary departed this life and entered into Heaven, for one so full of grace and beloved by God surely has a place saved for her in his kingdom, but rather the way in which she entered paradise.

Mary is a human person who received the distinct honour of being assumed, body and soul united, into Heaven. Fr Clifford Stevens writes: ‘The Assumption completes God’s work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God’s crowning of his work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity.’

Mary already shares in the Resurrection of her Son, and anticipates the end of the world when her spiritual children too will share in the glory of Heaven. The Assumption of Mary turns our eyes to the direction of God, and gives us the hope that we too might one day enter into Heaven, body and soul united once again, at the end of the world when Jesus will raise us all to our eternal life with him.

 

Filed Under: FaithFeaturedSpirituality

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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