Assumption of Mary
Rev. David Q. Liptak wrote:
What does the Assumption mean in practical, everyday, language? Simply, that Mary is a sign of how God deals with us – with you and me. Like Mary, we too are destined for glory before God. Moreover, like Mary, our flesh will one day be glorified, as Mary’s flesh is now glorified. The Assumption of Our Lady means that what happened to Mary is meant to happen to us.
The Lord spoke to the Prophet Hosea,
“I will deliver them out of the hand of Hades and will redeem them from death. Where is your penalty, O death? O Hades, where is your sting? Pity is hidden from My eyes.”
– Hosea 13:14, SAAS.
St. Paul cited this prophecy and the one in Isaiah 25:8 in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, saying,
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?’
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, NKJV.
On the 15th of August, Anglicans and Episcopalians celebrate the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin. Eastern Orthodoxy celebrates the Dormition of the Theotokos (Birth-giver of God). The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On ChurchYear.net, David Bennett and Jonathan Bennett wrote:
“We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” With these words, Pope Pius XII officially and infallibly declared the Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God (theotokos), to be dogma in 1950. In this pronouncement, Pope Pius was simply stating dogmatically what the Church, East and West, had believed for many years. The Catholic Catechism further explains:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians (966).
The Catechism then quotes from the Troparion of the Feast of the Dormition from the Byzantine Liturgy:
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death. (966)
Thus, the Assumption of Mary is not only a participation in her Son’s resurrection, but a preview of our future resurrections. As such, the dogma of Mary’s Assumption is firmly rooted in the actions and person of Christ, and in the virtue of Christian hope.
This blessed hope of putting on incorruption and immortality is expressed in the mother of our Lord’s stainless existence. As the Archangel Gabriel proclaimed, she is “full of grace”, and it’s by that grace that she was found worthy of bearing the Prince of the New Covenant. St. John was given a vision of her in Heaven:
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. . . .
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God. . . .
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come.'”
– Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10, NKJV.
The salvation of Christ began on earth with the Virgin Mary, scripturally, from the time of the Annunciation when she affirmed, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Should she not hold a special place in Heaven as well as in our hearts? Like the Queen Mother, Bathsheba, interceded for Adonijah to her son King Solomon (2 Kings 2:17-19), so does Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for us to her Son, the Eternal King of kings, Christ Jesus. Additionally, she is forever the example of the call to live a sinless life and dwell forever in the presence of God.