By Fr. Nilo A. Lardizabal, O.P.
One of the most beautiful Marian dogmas of the Church is the Assumption of Mary. Pius XII wrote in his Munificentissimus Deus in 1950 that Mary,
"...preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory... so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of death."
The Assumption of Mary, through a privilege of the Blessed Virgin as sinless Mother of the Redeemer, is a foretaste of our own resurrection, through the power of Jesus Christ. We anticipate this same event when He will come again in glory. Mary however already had this singular participation in the resurrection of her Son. (cf. CCC, 966)
Christian Scriptures do not directly mention the Assumption of Mary; it has been a product of tradition and faith. Interestingly however, there was mention of just men being “brought up into heaven”.
For instance, the book of Genesis chapter 5, verse 24 mentions that Enoch "who walked with God… was seen no more, because God took him.” He was in a sense “assumed” into heaven because he pleased God.
Or in the Second book of Kings, chapter 2, verses 1 to 13, it relates the story of the prophet Elijah and Elisha: “As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”
Both these men were living righteously before the sight of God. And both were privileged with the assumption as a consequence. What more then Mary, the Mother of Jesus, chosen from all the women of the earth? She who lived free from all sin, and was “full of grace”?
Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 22-23 said: “for us in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive… Christ, the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” As Christ is already in heaven, it is appropriate that Mary follow after Him.
Cardinal Newman, a Catholic convert has this to say about the Assumption of Mary:
It was surely fitting, that she be taken up into heaven and not lie in the grave till Christ’s second coming, who had passed a life of sanctity and of miracle such as hers. Why should she share the curse of Adam, who had no share in His fall?
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