Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

“Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified” (Psalm 131:8)

From Munificentissimus Deus (“The Most Bountiful God), promulgated by Venerable Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, defining the dogma of the Assumption of Mary:

“40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,(47) immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.(48)

“41. Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, and since the bishops of the entire world are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith–this truth which is based on the Sacred Writings, which is thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful, which has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times, which is completely in harmony with the other revealed truths, and which has been expounded and explained magnificently in the work, the science, and the wisdom of the theologians – we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived.

“44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, 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 into heavenly glory.”

In his proclamation, Venerable Pius XII recounts the history of the faith of the Church in the Assumption of Mary, the testimony of the Fathers of the Church in this dogma and of more recent (by Church standards) theologians and spiritual masters. He also mentions his petitioning the bishops of the Church on the matter and of receiving near unanimous agreement that the time for officially proclaiming the dogma had arrived. You can read the entire document here:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html

The Church has believed since the earliest centuries that Mary, because of her unique role in the history of salvation as the one from whom Jesus received his human nature and human flesh, who was truly the Mother of our Savior, the Mother of God, and who, being preserved by the merits won by Christ on the Cross from all stain of original sin from the very moment of her conception, was likewise preserved from all bodily corruption and assumed body and soul into heaven.

She is the Ark of the Covenant. Just as the ancient ark held the Ten Commandment, the word spoken by God to Israel from Mt. Sinai, so she held within her the glorious Word of God, and from whom the Word was made flesh for the sake of our salvation.

She is our Mother. She is our Queen. Just as Jesus certainly turned to her in His youth and even adulthood for wisdom, comfort and consolation, so can we turn to her for such. How could it be otherwise? Jesus would not deny us the care and love of His heavenly Mother.

So, rejoice people of God! We see in Mary the model of discipleship and the first fulfillment of that promise that awaits all who wait on the Lord.

“All-powerful and ever-living God, you raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”     Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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