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THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY: A BELIEF SINCE APOSTOLIC TIMES [Ecumenical]
EWTN.com ^ | July-August 1996 issue of "Catholic Heritage". | Father Clifford Stevens

Posted on 08/15/2008 8:57:20 AM PDT by Salvation

THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY: A BELIEF SINCE APOSTOLIC TIMES
Father Clifford Stevens

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.

The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."

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.

Father Clifford Stevens writes from Tintern Monastery in Oakdale, Neb.


This article was taken from the July-August 1996 issue of "Catholic Heritage". To subscribe write Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750-9957 or call 1-800-348-2440. Published bimonthly at a charge of $18.00 per year.


Provided Courtesy of:
Eternal Word Television Network
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www.ewtn.com




TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; saints
For your information and discussion. This is an Ecumenical thread. Please follow the Religion Moderatoor's Guidelines for Ecumenical threads.

Guidelines for Ecumenical threads

1 posted on 08/15/2008 8:57:20 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

2 posted on 08/15/2008 8:58:49 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Oops

Religion Moderator’s Guidelines


3 posted on 08/15/2008 8:59:55 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY: A BELIEF SINCE APOSTOLIC TIMES [Ecumenical]

August 15, Feast of the Assumption - Did Mary's Assumption Really Occur? [Ecumenical]

Assumption Sermon of Rev James Bartoloma 8/16/07 (on Summorum Pontificum)

Angelus - Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2007)

In Charm City, 100K Have Seen the Light

The Assumption of Our Lady

Solemnity of the Assumption

Solemnity of the Assumption

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Meditations for this Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

Why Catholics Believe in the Assumption of Mary

St. John Damascene: Homily 3 on the Assumption/Dormition

St. John Damascene: Homily II on the Assumption/Dormition

St. John Damascene: Homily I on the Assumption/Dormition

Catholic Caucus: The Assumption of Mary - Marcellino D'Ambrosio, PhD

Today's the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15th.

Maronite Catholic: Qolo (Hymn) of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Gregory Palamas: On the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Maronite Catholic: Qolo (Hymn) of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Catholic Caucus: A NOVENA OF FASTING AND PRAYERS/ASSUMPTION/DORMITION

St. Gregory Palamas: On the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

The Fourth Glorious Mystery

Archbishop Sheen Today! -- The glorious assumption

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A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

The Assumption Of Mary

4 posted on 08/15/2008 9:02:48 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary

5 posted on 08/15/2008 9:05:51 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Salvation

There appears to be another tradition which the good Father does not mention: St. John was apparently sent to Ephesus as bishop and Mary having been put into his care, he took her along. The tradition in the area is that he found a cabin for her on the mountain ridge behind the town where she lived until she was assumed into heaven.

I have been to the location and the foundation stones have been dated to Apostolic times.


6 posted on 08/15/2008 9:20:01 AM PDT by BelegStrongbow (what part of 'mias gunaikos andra' do Episcopalians not understand?)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: Salvation

Catholicism is man’s wisdom added to God’s wisdom. The two don’t mix. Catholicism is cursed by adding to and taking away from the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


8 posted on 08/15/2008 10:04:14 AM PDT by Righter-than-Rush
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To: Righter-than-Rush

I believe you are mistaken. The Protestant Bible lacks some books that are in the Catholic version. The Catholic version (accepted for over 1500 years) predates the Protestant version.

However, I don’t think Protestants are cursed because they left a few books out. I just think they are in error.


9 posted on 08/15/2008 10:09:36 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Salvation

That was quick. Off to Mass.


10 posted on 08/15/2008 10:39:06 AM PDT by Jaded (does it really need a sarcasm tag?)
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To: Righter-than-Rush

***Catholicism is man’s wisdom added to God’s wisdom. The two don’t mix. Catholicism is cursed by adding to and taking away from the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.***

Doesn’t sound very ecumenical to me and doesn’t seem necessarily related to the topic and the article.

By the way, we set the content of the Bible; it was Luther et al that removed portions Scripture and Luther wanted to rid the NT of most of the Epistles plus Revelation. Just so ya know.


11 posted on 08/15/2008 10:55:21 AM PDT by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Righter-than-Rush
is cursed

This thread is tagged "ecumenical." Antagonism is not allowed.
12 posted on 08/15/2008 11:02:20 AM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator; Salvation

Can we call you ‘Moderatoor’? It has a nice ring to it... :)


13 posted on 08/15/2008 12:53:40 PM PDT by Enosh (†)
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To: Enosh

LOL!


14 posted on 08/15/2008 12:56:41 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: MarkBsnr
"Luther wanted to rid the NT of most of the Epistles"

Come now. Luther had doubts about a few of the Epistles, such as James and Jude. To say that he wanted to remove most of them entirely is beyond hyperbole.

15 posted on 08/15/2008 5:42:40 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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To: BelegStrongbow

My priest said that he believed she died in Ephesus too. There are other thoughts, however, on the subject.


16 posted on 08/15/2008 7:07:14 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Dan Middleton

But the fact that he wanted to remove ANY of them is telling, isn’t it? (He considered James to be “an epistle of straw”, for example.) Unfortunately, that is the genesis of Protestant thought. Protestants claim to follow sola scriptura and sole fide, yet they have removed books from the canon of the Bible, and there is no basis in scripture for either of those doctrines. (Luther added the word “alone” to the German translation of Romans 3:28.)


17 posted on 08/15/2008 7:07:53 PM PDT by Deo et Patria ("Don't taze me, bro!")
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To: Righter-than-Rush

Catholicism adds to what Protestants believe since Catholics also believe in Holy Tradition.

Have you read any of the Early Fathers and their writings about the assumption of Mary into heaven?


18 posted on 08/15/2008 7:10:44 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I feel terrible. I’ve been sick for the last week and I’m not able to attend this mass. I’m pretty depressed. Thank you for sending this to me. The Blessed Mother will be especially revered in my prayers tonight. Ave Maria!


19 posted on 08/15/2008 7:21:57 PM PDT by Bishop_Malachi (Liberal Socialism - A philosophy which advocates spreading a low standard of living equally.)
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To: Bishop_Malachi

Prayers that you will soon be better.


20 posted on 08/15/2008 7:27:04 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Deo et Patria
"But the fact that he wanted to remove ANY of them is telling, isn’t it?"

Actually, Catholic theologians of the time, including some of those who opposed Luther, expressed the same doubts about certain books.

"(He considered James to be “an epistle of straw”, for example.)"

This is always bandied about, but nobody ever cites the complete quote, which shows that Luther was comparing the character and tone of James to other books of Scripture and not making a judgment about it in and of itself.

"Unfortunately, that is the genesis of Protestant thought. Protestants claim to follow sola scriptura and sole fide, yet they have removed books from the canon of the Bible, and there is no basis in scripture for either of those doctrines."

Don't think we have time for the entire kernel of the Catholic-Protestant debate tonight. :-)

"(Luther added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28.)"

He wasn't the first.

21 posted on 08/15/2008 8:09:53 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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To: Deo et Patria
BTW, followup thought: your use of James as an example of Luther's "telling" desire to "remove" certain books doesn't make much sense when one considers that Luther actually DID include James as inspired Scripture in his German translation, whatever other comments he may have made about it. :-) If Luther was capriciously throwing out books willy-nilly because they didn't suit his beliefs, surely he would have given James the axe.
22 posted on 08/15/2008 8:12:44 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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To: Salvation
THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY: A BELIEF SINCE APOSTOLIC TIMES (by)Father Clifford Stevens

Personally, I find the title's statement a little hard to believe since it does not come from "Apostolic Times": in reference to the latest post from you, entitled: " The Early Church Fathers on the Assumption [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus] Friday, August 15, 2008 10:16:23 PM · by Salvation. All of the quotes you bring forth are all too late to be from "Apostolic Time." None of the "church fathers" before your references ever reference an "assumption" of Mary, if they even mention her (which they don't). Truly, this dogma is a late addition to beliefs, and thusly is rejected by almost all Evangelical churches. What say you?

23 posted on 08/15/2008 8:55:00 PM PDT by Truth Defender (History teaches, if we but listen to it; but no one really listens!)
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To: Dan Middleton

Google can be your friend, sir.

Hebrews, Jude, James, and Revelation are the starting point for the NT.

Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus/Sirach, Baruch, I Maccabees, and II Maccabees), 3 chapters of Daniel and 6 chapters of Esther are the OT cuts by Luther.

The NT cuts are merely for the personal gain of Luther; the OT cuts as well, but buttressed by the notion that the anti Christian Jewish council of Jamnia a half century after the Resurrection of Jesus had more say over Scripture than the Church did when they formalized the Canon.


24 posted on 08/15/2008 9:04:26 PM PDT by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr
"Hebrews, Jude, James, and Revelation are the starting point for the NT."

And all four were included as inspired Scripture in Luther's German translation.

"Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus/Sirach, Baruch, I Maccabees, and II Maccabees), 3 chapters of Daniel and 6 chapters of Esther are the OT cuts by Luther."

A reflection of the opinion he took on the long-standing issue of whether those books should be considered inspired.

BTW, it's all well and good for your Roman Catholics to excoriate us Protestants for cutting books out of the Bible, but I wonder what you have to say about the extra ones the Orthodox church includes that you don't?

Honestly, one would think that nobody had ever disagreed about the canon before old Luther came along. How silly. :-)

25 posted on 08/15/2008 9:15:06 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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To: Salvation
MARY: MOTHER OF GOD OR MOTHER OF CHRIST?

"...the religious climate of the city of Ephesus with its temple of Artemis and the worship of this “Great Mother,” originally “the virgin goddess,” became conducive to replacing the pagan Artemis with the Christian Mary. It would be a way to merge paganism into Christianity and would facilitate the conversion of pagans into the new faith and religion..."

26 posted on 08/15/2008 11:51:34 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Gospel writers refer to Christ as Son of Man AND Son of God.

Wasy enough to figure out.


27 posted on 08/16/2008 8:24:32 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Truth Defender

How do you think the Early Church Fathers received their information?

Holy Tradition, of course. These beliefs and tesaimonies were handed down (told) by the apostles. There are also references in the apocryphal writings that the Catholic Church did not approve for the Canon of the Bible.


28 posted on 08/16/2008 8:33:35 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
How do you think the Early Church Fathers received their information?

From their imaginations? From myths and reading into what was written; from stories told to enhance "spirituality"?

Holy Tradition, of course. These beliefs and tesaimonies were handed down (told) by the apostles. There are also references in the apocryphal writings that the Catholic Church did not approve for the Canon of the Bible.

There is no proof that the "assumption" or taking of Mary, body and "soul" to heaven, came from the Apostles. And why did these "aprocryphal" writings not get the church's blessing? Than answer, they were not inspired and contain things that did not go along with the other writings that were considered inspired and written by those who had first hand knowledge of Christ.

29 posted on 08/16/2008 9:03:13 AM PDT by Truth Defender (History teaches, if we but listen to it; but no one really listens!)
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