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  • Writer's pictureMaria

A sure assumption.

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

On August 15th each year, the Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary. This commemorates the moment when our Holy Mother was taken up to heaven, body and soul.

While the bodies of both Jesus and Mary are now in heaven, there is a difference between the Assumption and the Resurrection. Where Jesus arose from the tomb and ascended into heaven by his own power, Mary’s body was taken up, assumed, to heaven by the power of her Son. This dogma (specific teaching which is proclaimed as incontrovertibly true) is rooted in early Christian beliefs and was formally declared in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. You can read more on the historical background of this teaching here.

Although there are no explicit references in Scripture for Mary’s assumption, there are biblical themes which shed light on this teaching. For example, the notion of being taken up into heaven has precedent in Scripture; Enoch was taken into heaven without seeing death (Hebrews 11:5), and Elijah was whisked into heaven by the chariots of fire at the end of his life (2 Kings 2:11). If God could assume these righteous men of the Old Testament, it is certainly possible that Jesus could assume his own mother as well. Moreover, since faithful disciples are promised victory over death, it is fitting that Mary (who is the first and model disciple of Christ) would receive this blessing. Importantly, the teaching also has roots in John's apocalyptic vision which you can read about here.

As we celebrate this feast, it is important to consider what it means for us. Mary's assumption is a preview of what our lives will be at the end of time and affirms God's desire for every person to be with Him forever. While we may not have our earthly bodies in Heaven like Mary, her assumption is a sign of God's great love and plan for our eternal lives. We can use this feast as an opportunity to reflect on Mary's example and model our lives on her discipleship with the hope that, we too, will spend forever in Heaven.

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