1. something taken for granted; a supposition:
a correct assumption.
Synonyms: presupposition; hypothesis, conjecture, guess, postulate, theory.
a. the bodily taking up into heaven of the Virgin Mary.
b. a feast commemorating this, celebrated on August 15.
The Feast of the Assumption celebrates the dogma that the Church holds, stated in the Catechism as “The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body (974).”
Mary is always the woman who goes before us, the Mother who beckons us as she would beckon a toddler taking their first steps, to rise and walk towards her arms. She does this from Heaven, body and soul, smiling at us, holding out her arms and showing us that her joy is for us to follow in her footsteps, arriving in Heaven with her as well. Msgr. Charles Pope wrote in his blog, Communion in Mission,
“Simply put, what happened to Mary in a profound and preliminary way will also happen for us in the end. As Mary bore Christ into the world, we too bear him there in the Holy Communion we receive and in the witness of his indwelling presence in our life. As Mary is (and always was) sinless, so too will we one day be sinless (immaculate) with God in heaven. As Mary cared for Christ in his need, so do we care for him in the poor, the suffering, needy and afflicted. And as Mary was assumed, body and soul into heaven so too will we be there one day, body and soul.” (Pope 2010)
On the feast of the Assumption, here are 2 sure assumptions we can make about our Mother in Heaven.
1. We can assume that she is indeed in Heaven, body and soul
Actually, it’s more than an assumption. It’s a dogma.
Definition of dogma: “Doctrine taught by the Church to be believed by all the faithful as part of divine revelation. All dogmas, therefore, are formally revealed truths and promulgated as such by the Church. They are revealed either in Scripture or tradition, either explicitly (as the Incarnation) or implicitly (as the Assumption). Moreover, their acceptance by the faithful must be proposed as necessary for salvation.” (Catholic Dictionary)
“Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure.” (CCC 89)
A dogma is an infallible truth taught proclaimed by the Magisterium of the Church. What does that mean? The Church says that this is unequivocally true, will never change, and that for Catholics it is necessary, not optional, to accept as truth. There are currently 255 dogmas.
Why did the Church proclaim that Mary’s Assumption is a dogma? Most of the time when the Church proclaims a dogma, it is giving formal assent to something that has always been held as true (like the Trinity, or that Christ becomes present in the Sacrament of the Altar by the transformation of the whole substance of the bread into His Body and the whole substance of the wine into His Blood.). This is the case with the Assumption of Mary. From the beginning of the Church the apostles have held that Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven, like Elijah.
How can that be substantiated? Think of how the Church revers the human remains of even the most obscure saint. There has never been one church or saint in History that claimed to have the relics of Mary, Mother of God.
It makes sense. Mary was a tabernacle. Recent medical studies have shown that after giving birth, the DNA of a child remains in the mother’s body permanently. Mary was a carrier of Christ’s living body through her whole life. Christ’s body, combined with the body of the Mother he redeemed from original sin before her creation, was not susceptible to decaying in the grave.
Also, the very apostle Jesus entrusted the care of his Mother to, St. John the Evangelist, tells us in his writings:
“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun . . . she was with child . . . and . . . brought forth a male child [Jesus], one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev 12:1-5). “
2. We can assume she loves us and is helping us to follow her to Heaven.
Icon of our destiny, Mary is waiting for us in Heaven with hope and joy. We may be tempted to think of her as un-relatable in her perfection, but she shared our life in many concrete ways, happy and sad. Mary was a married lay woman (Mt 1:24). She enjoyed a good party with friends (John 2:1-10). She was close to her relatives and cared for them (Luke 1: 39-56). She was a mother (Luke 2:7).
Mary also knew the sufferings of this world. Her life wasn’t always easy. Simply looking at the Gospel we learn that Mary had an unexpected pregnancy (Luke 1:34). She was afraid (Luke 1:29). She was almost divorced (Mt 1:19). She knew that she would suffer as a mother (Luke 2:35). She had to flee as a refugee in the middle of the night (Mt 2:14). She lost her son for three days (Luke 2:43-51). She beheld the dead body of her Son and her God (Mt 27:54-55).
Mary come to us in our own life moments, happy and sad, to accompany us on our road to Heaven. She embraces us, protects us, encourages us, accompanies us – she mothers us. She loves us as we are, unconditionally, as a mother does, while encouraging us to follow Christ as she did.
When we don’t know where to turn or what to do, she points at her son, “Do whatever he tells you to.” (John 2:5) Whenever we don’t understand something that is happening in our lives, or the lives of those we love she encourages us to be with her and “ponder all these things in [our] heart.”(Luke 2:51). And when we are happy she reminds us to let our spirits “rejoice in God [our] Saviour.” (Luke 1:47)
At the end of our lives, Mary will be there too praying for us “now and at the hour of our death.” And what could be more comforting than to know Our Mother, who lives body and soul in Heaven, will have her arms around us at that moment, ready for us to follow her footsteps into eternity to see her face to face.
Dictionary.com. 2017. www.dictionary.com. 08 15. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/assumption.
Pope, Msgr. Charles. 2010. Community in Mission. August 15. http://blog.adw.org/2010/08/the-feast-of-the-assumption-is-our-feast-too/.