Skip to comments.Solemnity of the Assumption
Posted on 01/25/2007 8:45:51 PM PST by Salvation
|Solemnity of the Assumption
||I once asked a college theology class if anyone could explain the doctrine of the Assumption. A student replied, Yeah, thats the teaching whereby the Catholic Church assumes that Mary is in heaven.
|In This Article...
Greatest of Marian Feasts
Something Unique about Mary
No Decay, No Delay
Greatest of Marian Feasts
Something Unique about Mary
No Decay, No Delay
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A: Like the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception, the dogma of the Assumption is not explicitly stated in the Bible. The teaching that 'at the end of her earthly course, Mary was assumed into heavenly glory, body and soul' was dogmatically defined by Pius XII in 1950 in Munificentissimus Deus. This encyclical mentions many "holy writers who ... employed statements and various images and analogies of Sacred Scripture to illustrate and to confirm the doctrine of the Assumption..." (#29) Though admitting that these "theologians and preachers ... have been rather free ... in their use of expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption" (#26), Pius XII maintained that in defining the dogma of Mary's Assumption, he merely fulfilled his divine commission to "faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the Apostles" not to "manifest new doctrine" (#12). The Catholic Church believes this dogma to have been present in Sacred Scripture or Apostolic Tradition, at least implicitly. Hence, scriptural interpretations accomodated to Mary by 'prophetic expandability' may be legitimate, not because of academic evidence or "any merely human effort" (#12), but as signs of the "protection of the Spirit of Truth" (#12) in the Church.
Some of the biblical texts used in the encyclical to illustrate the doctrine of Mary's Assumption include:
[the Spouse of Canticles] that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense [Cant 3:6]
The Woman clothed with the Sun [Rev 12]
I will glorify the place of my feet. [Is 61:13]
Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved? [Cant 8:5]
The encyclical also offers a number of scripturally based arguments of fittingness in support of Mary's Assumption. For example, the fullness of grace ascribed to Mary in Lk 1:28, and the accomodation of Gen 3:15 to her, indicate that Mary "was exempted from the fourfold curse that had been laid upon Eve" (#30) (e.g. bodily death and corruption). Also, the commandment to honor parents (cf. Ex 20:11) was seen to imply Jesus' care for Mary's body after her death (cf. #35). Finally, the bodily resurrection won by Jesus' Resurrection in which "Death is swallowed up in victory." (I Cor 15:54), is applicable to Mary as to all believers. However, because Scripture and Tradition indicate the close link between Jesus and His Mother on earth, the link between Jesus' bodily Resurrection and Mary's share in it was assumed to be equally close. None of this constitutes explicit Scriptural proof of the doctrine of Mary's Assumption. Its status as infallibly revealed dogma rests on the living authority of the Church as the interpreter of Scripture, especially as to its comprehensiveness and overall finality. However, the Catholic Church considers this Marian privilege to be "in wonderful accord with those divine truths given us in Holy Scripture." (#24)
SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Wednesday, 15 August 2001
1. "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (I Cor 15,26).
Paul's words that we have just heard in the Second Reading help us to understand the significance of the solemnity we are celebrating today. Christ's definitive victory over death, which came into the world because of Adam's sin, shines out in Mary, assumed into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. It was Christ, the "new" Adam, who conquered death, offering himself as a sacrifice on Calvary in loving obedience to the Father. In this way he redeemed us from the slavery of sin and evil. In the Virgin's triumph, the Church contemplates her whom the Father chose as the true Mother of his Only-begotten Son, closely associating her with the salvific plan of the Redemption.
This is why Mary, as the liturgy points out, is a consoling sign of our hope. In looking to her, carried up amid the rejoicing of the angelic hosts, the whole of human life, marked by lights and shadows, is opened to the perspective of eternal happiness. If our experience of daily life allows us to feel tangibly that our earthly pilgrimage is under the sign of uncertainty and strife, the Virgin assumed into heavenly glory assures us that we will never lack divine help.
2. "A great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun" (Apoc 12,1). Let us look at Mary, dear brothers and sisters who are gathered here on a day so dear to the devotion of the Christian people. I greet you with deep affection. I greet in particular Cardinal Angelo Sodano, my primary collaborator, and the Bishop of Albano with his Auxiliary, and I thank them for heir courteous presence. I also greet the parish priest together with the priests who assist him, the religious and all the faithful present, especially the consecrated Salesians and the communities of Castel Gandolfo and of the Pontifical Villas. I greet the pilgrims speaking various languages who have wished to join in our celebration. I hope that each one will joyfully live today's solemnity, which offers so much food for meditation.
Today a great sign appears for us in heaven: the Virgin Mother! The sacred author of the Book of the Apocalypse speaks of her to us in the First Reading. What an extraordinary miracle meets our astonished eyes! Used to looking at earthly realities, we are invited to lift our gaze: to heaven, which is our definitive homeland, where the Blessed Virgin awaits us.
Perhaps, more than in the past, modern man is consumed by material interests and concerns. He seeks security and often feels lonely and anxious. Then what can be said of the enigma of death? Mary's Assumption is an event that concerns us precisely because every human being is destined to die. But death is not the last word. Death - the mystery of the Virgin's Assumption assures us - is the passage to life, the encounter with Love. It is the passage to the eternal happiness in store for those who toil for truth and justice and do their utmost to follow Christ.
3. "Henceforth all generations will call me blessed " (Lk 1,48). This is what the Mother of Christ exclaimed when she met Elizabeth, her elderly kinswoman. Once again the Gospel has just presented the Magnificat to us. It is Our Lady's response to St Elizabeth's prophetic words: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Lk 1,45).
In Mary the promise is fulfilled: the Mother is blessed and we her children will be blessed if, like her, we listen to and put into practice the Lord's words.
May today's solemnity open our hearts to this superior view of life. May the Virgin, whom today we contemplate in splendour at her Son's right hand, help contemporary man to live believing "in the fulfilment of the Lord's words".
4. "Today the children of the Church on earth are joyfully celebrating the Virgin's passing to the celestial city, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Laudes et hymni, VI). This is what the Armenian liturgy sings today. I make these words my own, thinking of my apostolic pilgrimage to Kazakhstan and Armenia on which, please God, I shall be setting out in just over a month. To you, Mary, I entrust the success of this new stage in my service to the Church and to the world. I ask you to help believers to be watchmen of the hope that does not disappoint and never to stop proclaiming that Christ is victorious over evil and death. Faithful Woman, enlighten the humanity of our time so that it may understand that every human life is not extinguished in a handful of dust, but is called to a destiny of eternal happiness. Mary, "who are the joy of heaven and of earth", may you watch over and pray for us and for the whole world, now and for ever. Amen!
I noticed Pope Benedict has been wanting to re-emphasize the Marian traditions.
Yes, I'm looking for a homily he gave on the Assumption too.
Please notoe that I am not BASHING any other religion in these postings!
|August 15, 2006
Solemnity of the Assumption
Old Calendar: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Now toward the end of the summer season, at a time when fruits are ripe in the gardens and fields, the Church celegrates the most glorious "harvest festival" in the Communion of Saints. Mary, the supremely blessed one among women, Mary, the most precious fruit which has ripened in the fields of God's kingdom, is today taken into the granary of heaven. Pius Parsch
The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.
Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as Aelia Capitolina in honor of Jupiter.
For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.
After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.
On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.
At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.
For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.
Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.
That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)
At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."
In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "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 the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.
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. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.
The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.
In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."
With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.
Fr. Clifford Stevens in Catholic Heritage
Things to Do:
Don't worry, I'll bash them for you. ;o)
No, it's really not necessary.
Like Christ said to St. Paul, we can say to anyone who persecutes the Catholic Church:
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
I like arguing with the heretics, personally.
I found the neatest quiz recently entitled "Are You a Heretic". I wasn't. It basically addressed the Nestorian heresies.
If I could find it again I would post it, but I have been unsuccessful so far.
I'd be scared to take it. :o)
But if you do find it, let me know.
MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION
OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Parish Church of Castel Gandolfo
Monday, 15 August 2005
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
First of all, I offer a cordial greeting to you all. It gives me great joy to celebrate Mass in this beautiful parish church on the day of the Assumption.
I greet Cardinal Sodano, the Bishop of Albano, all the priests, the Mayor and all of you. Thank you for your presence.
The Feast of the Assumption is a day of joy. God has won. Love has won. It has won life. Love has shown that it is stronger than death, that God possesses the true strength and that his strength is goodness and love.
Mary was taken up body and soul into Heaven: there is even room in God for the body. Heaven is no longer a very remote sphere unknown to us.
We have a mother in Heaven. And the Mother of God, the Mother of the Son of God, is our Mother. He himself has said so. He made her our Mother when he said to the disciple and to all of us: "Behold, your Mother!". We have a Mother in Heaven. Heaven is open, Heaven has a heart.
In the Gospel we heard the Magnificat, that great poem inspired by the Holy Spirit that came from Mary's lips, indeed, from Mary's heart. This marvellous canticle mirrors the entire soul, the entire personality of Mary. We can say that this hymn of hers is a portrait of Mary, a true icon in which we can see her exactly as she is. I would like to highlight only two points in this great canticle.
It begins with the word "Magnificat": my soul "magnifies" the Lord, that is, "proclaims the greatness" of the Lord. Mary wanted God to be great in the world, great in her life and present among us all. She was not afraid that God might be a "rival" in our life, that with his greatness he might encroach on our freedom, our vital space. She knew that if God is great, we too are great. Our life is not oppressed but raised and expanded: it is precisely then that it becomes great in the splendour of God.
The fact that our first parents thought the contrary was the core of original sin. They feared that if God were too great, he would take something away from their life. They thought that they could set God aside to make room for themselves.
This was also the great temptation of the modern age, of the past three or four centuries. More and more people have thought and said: "But this God does not give us our freedom; with all his commandments, he restricts the space in our lives. So God has to disappear; we want to be autonomous and independent. Without this God we ourselves would be gods and do as we pleased".
This was also the view of the Prodigal Son, who did not realize that he was "free" precisely because he was in his father's house. He left for distant lands and squandered his estate. In the end, he realized that precisely because he had gone so far away from his father, instead of being free he had become a slave; he understood that only by returning home to his father's house would he be truly free, in the full beauty of life.
This is how it is in our modern epoch. Previously, it was thought and believed that by setting God aside and being autonomous, following only our own ideas and inclinations, we would truly be free to do whatever we liked without anyone being able to give us orders. But when God disappears, men and women do not become greater; indeed, they lose the divine dignity, their faces lose God's splendour. In the end, they turn out to be merely products of a blind evolution and, as such, can be used and abused. This is precisely what the experience of our epoch has confirmed for us.
Only if God is great is humankind also great. With Mary, we must begin to understand that this is so. We must not drift away from God but make God present; we must ensure that he is great in our lives. Thus, we too will become divine; all the splendour of the divine dignity will then be ours. Let us apply this to our own lives.
It is important that God be great among us, in public and in private life.
In public life, it is important that God be present, for example, through the cross on public buildings, and that he be present in our community life, for only if God is present do we have an orientation, a common direction; otherwise, disputes become impossible to settle, for our common dignity is no longer recognized.
Let us make God great in public and in private life. This means making room for God in our lives every day, starting in the morning with prayers, and then dedicating time to God, giving Sundays to God. We do not waste our free time if we offer it to God. If God enters into our time, all time becomes greater, roomier, richer.
A second observation: Mary's poem - the Magnificat - is quite original; yet at the same time, it is a "fabric" woven throughout of "threads" from the Old Testament, of words of God.
Thus, we see that Mary was, so to speak, "at home" with God's word, she lived on God's word, she was penetrated by God's word. To the extent that she spoke with God's words, she thought with God's words, her thoughts were God's thoughts, her words, God's words. She was penetrated by divine light and this is why she was so resplendent, so good, so radiant with love and goodness.
Mary lived on the Word of God, she was imbued with the Word of God. And the fact that she was immersed in the Word of God and was totally familiar with the Word also endowed her later with the inner enlightenment of wisdom.
Whoever thinks with God thinks well, and whoever speaks to God speaks well. They have valid criteria to judge all the things of the world. They become prudent, wise, and at the same time good; they also become strong and courageous with the strength of God, who resists evil and fosters good in the world.
Thus, Mary speaks with us, speaks to us, invites us to know the Word of God, to love the Word of God, to live with the Word of God, to think with the Word of God. And we can do so in many different ways: by reading Sacred Scripture, by participating especially in the Liturgy, in which Holy Church throughout the year opens the entire book of Sacred Scripture to us. She opens it to our lives and makes it present in our lives.
But I am also thinking of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we recently published, in which the Word of God is applied to our lives and the reality of our lives interpreted; it helps us enter into the great "temple" of God's Word, to learn to love it and, like Mary, to be penetrated by this Word.
Thus, life becomes luminous and we have the basic criterion with which to judge; at the same time, we receive goodness and strength.
Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of Heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us?
The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us.
While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, "within" all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a "mother" to whom we can turn at every moment.
She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us.
On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day. Amen.
Me too! I'll hold the coats while you cast the stones!
It always fun. Having a guy that thinks his 32 yo pastor figured it all out while Aquinas, Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Augustine, etc etc etc were all fools, makes for interesting conversations.
Yeah! Doesn't he know that the church has already figured it out for all of us??? It's very comforting to know that we can put it on cruise control and let our local priest do the heavy lifting!
OK. I get your drift. Your characterization is absurd.
Golly Gee! You're just no fun at all!
Oh I'm alot of fun, its always the people I argue with that get huffy.
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