The Assumption of Mary
For Roman Catholic Christians, the belief in the Assumption of Mary flows immediately from the belief in her Immaculate Conception. Catholic Christians believe that if Mary was preserved from sin by the free gift of God, she would not be bound to experience the consequences of sin--death--in the same way we do. Mary's assumption shows the result of this freedom from sin--the immediate union of her whole being with her Son Jesus Christ with God at the end of her life.
Catholic Christians believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the end of her earthly life, was assumed both body and soul into heavenly glory.
- Rom 5:12
- Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned ...
- Rom 6:23
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- 1 Cor 15:21-26
- For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Since sin and death are the fruits of Satan, the freedom of Mary from the original sin of Adam also frees her from the consequences of sin also. Then Mary best fulfills the scripture of Genesis.
- Gen 3:15
- I will put enmity between you (the serpent, Satan) and the woman (Mary), and between your offspring (the minions of Satan) and hers (Christ); He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.
The constant faith (paradosis) of the Church affirms the belief in the Assumption of Mary.
- From the 5th Century:
- The Feast of the Assumption of Mary was celebrated in Syria.
- 5th and 6th Century:
- The Apocryphal Books were testimony of a certain christian sense of the abhorrence felt that the body of the Mother of God should lie in a sepulcher.
- 6th Century:
- The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated in Jerusalem (and perhaps even in Alexandria).
- From the 7th Century:
- Clear and explicit testimony was given on the Assumption of Mary in the Eastern Church; The same testimony is clear also in the Western Church (Gregory, Tours, 538-594).
- 9th Century:
- The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated in Spain.
- From the 10th - 12th Century:
- No dispute whatsoever in the Western Church; there was dispute over the false epistles of Jerome on the subject.
- 12th Century:
- The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated in the city of Rome, and in France.
- 13th Century to the present:
- Certain and undisputed faith in the Assumption of Mary in the universal Church.
- Pope Pius XII, declared infallibly, ex cathedra: "Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory." (The Magisterium has stayed cospicuously silent regarding whether this process entailed Mary's physical death. The teaching merely states that Mary's body and soul were assumed at the completion of the course of Mary's life.)
By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-2000, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
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Last Updated: July 20, 2000
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