Posted by: Fr Chris | August 16, 2022

The Assumption is a sign to all of us

Christ is our destiny, and Christ is also our example: His death and resurrection are a sign to us of our deaths and resurrection, His life in glory is a sign to us as well. The same holds true for Our Blessed Lady!

Christ holds the soul of Mary, as He comes to take her body to heaven

The Assumption of Mary is meaningless without the Resurrection of her son, Jesus Christ. He is the “first born from the dead”. In the Resurrection, Christ destroys death (1 Cor 15:26) for all who are in Christ. The salvation that the Resurrection of Christ brings is the paradigm for the salvation of all in Christ. That would, of course, preeminently include Mary. Christ died, and had a bodily resurrection. Our Lady dies, and has a bodily resurrection. Christ’s glorified body went into heaven on Ascension Thursday, and Our Lady’s glorified body goes into heaven today. Christ accomplished his earthly mission, so he returned to heaven. Mary fulfills her destiny and so she is taken into heaven. The last time we see a description of her earthly life is in Acts where she is praying in the midst of the disciples who were waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit. That’s now her role in heaven, as we see in the name of our church: she is our perpetual help because she is perpetually praying for us.

Just as the fact that we don’t have the bones of Jesus is a supporting argument for his Resurrection and Ascension, the fact that we don’t have the bones of Mary is a supporting argument for the Assumption of Mary. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches are very careful about preserving and honoring first-class relics of the martyrs and saints, but we have none of our blessed Mother whatsoever. All that is claimed of Mary is her veil, nothing more. No church has declared that they have the bones of Mary, but there is a church dating back fairly early, that claims it is the spot where Mary was assumed into heaven. One of the oldest shrines in the Holy Land is the Church of the Dormition, the spot venerated from which Mary was assumed into heaven.

Our Lady’s entry into heaven is given to us as a sign, that this is what will happen for us after the Last Judgement. Those who will go to heaven will be reunited with their bodies, since we really are made as complete beings, body and soul. God breathed into Adam after making him out of the dust, and gave life to Eve after removing the rib from near Adam’s heart. Body and soul – that is the human person, in the image and likeness of God Himself. Our bodies will decay – hers did not. Why?

  1. She was the new Ark of the Covenant, who contained God Himself in her womb. As the living Ark of the Covenant, God preserves her from decay.
  2. She is also the New Eve, the Mother of the New Adam, and remember that Adam and Eve were not meant to die, but to live forever.
  3. Every woman carries part of her baby’s DNA, even at the age of 90. Mary therefore carried part of Jesus’ DNA. Just as his body did not decay, neither does hers.
  4. Just as the Old Eve became the mother of all the living at the tree of life in paradise, Mary the New Eve became mother of all those living in Christ at the tree of life, the Cross atop Mount Calvary.
  5. Jesus does not appear to the apostles as a man covered in bloody tortured wounds, but rather as a glorified man, with just the five wounds. In all of the approved apparitions of Mary, the visionaries describe her as young and beautiful, and never as an older woman. Even when she is weeping, she is still young. That also is a sign for us of our glorified destiny: at the resurrection of the dead, we will be restored in a glorified state.

This feast of the Dormition, the defined dogma of the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven, is therefore a really significant event. And by the way, the custom of bringing flowers to a funeral dates from the discovery of Mary’s empty tomb filled with flowers. Sending flowers to a funeral, putting flowers on the grave, is a sign that I believe in the resurrection of the dead, just as we proclaim in the Nicene Creed. Mary is our ultimate sign of our destiny, of our hope, of God’s promises being fulfilled. She prays for us perpetually – may we turn to her always. As Saint Ephrem the Syrian wrote in the Hail Holy Queen, may she turn her eyes of mercy towards us, and at the end of our lives, reveal to us the fruit of her womb, our Savior Jesus Christ.

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