Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why do Catholics believe in the Assumption of Mary?

Ok, first Catholics say Mary was conceived without sin. Then they say she lived without sin and was a virgin all her life. Finally, they say she was assumed body and soul into heaven? Where does the Bible say that? Where do they get this stuff?

First, let’s see what the Catechism has to say on this. What do Catholics really believe?

“Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." 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 CCC)

There’s a lot there, but the main point is that Mary was completely without sin and as such was assumed body and soul into heaven as an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians. In other words, what she did is nothing different than what we will do one day when we’re united with our bodies at the end of time. She just gets to go early. To deny the assumption of Mary is similar to denying our own resurrection. Any Christian out there feel like doing that?

Our tradition tells us that she was taken up body and soul into Heaven. “But where is it in the Bible?” you may ask. It’s not.

However, let me tell you about four people who were assumed. Enuch was assumed in Genesis 5. Elisha in 2 Kings 2 was taken up in a chariot of fire. The two witnesses in Revelation 11 ascend into heaven in the sight of all their enemies after being killed. Bodily assumption happens in the Bible, so you can’t deny that it’s possible at the very least.

What about the woman in Revelations 12? The woman with the crown of starts in the heavens who gives birth to a male child? This, we believe, is a sign of Mary body and soul in heaven.

So, we have a precedent set of four other people being assumed, an image of Mary in heaven, tradition from the early church, and no contradictions in the Bible. Why shouldn’t I trust the tradition of my Church? I have no reason not to.


Anonymous said...

Jerome said no one knows of the end of Mary.This story is found in heretical books(declared heretical by early popes).it is pure extrabiblical,and again placated many pagans entering into the church,who had there own female cults.

dave ruiz said...

Dan,,was there a gospel of Peter that dealt with her assumption ? I also thought that it is one of the books deemed heretiacl, and a forgery by 5th or 6th century popes ? When do you say it became tradition, and when did it become fully acceptable by the entire Roman Church?

dave ruiz said...

the bible is specific enough to say Mary was blessed and for all generations ,but so was Moses and Abraham and David and John the baptist and anyone who is mentioned in a favorable light in tha Word. The bible says NOTHING about her being "Immaculate" nor "Assumed". 1854 the Pope declares the former a needed tnent of faith ,the latter came later .Why did it take so long ? it is because #1-it is not in the bible, #2 the apostles honored no such things ,nor was it there tradition, #3- the 2nd century saw no such tradition, #4- the 3rd century saw no such tradition, #5-when writings appeared favoring such thought ,the writings were condemned by the pope, # 6- Aquinas wrote heavily against such dogma etc. etc. etc.. It is tradition today ,but only for Roman Catholics, but there are many who are one, holy and apostolic and universal (catholic) who do not believe in such dogma.

dave ruiz said...

First ,the 4 assumptions in the bible were NOT sinless people. Second, early church fathers did not think Revelations 12 's "woman' is Mary .Victorinus said it was the church .Today most think it is Israel.3rd, - Rev12,"a woman clothed with the sun,and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars,and she being with child CRIED,TRAVAILING IN BIRTH AND PAINED TO BE DELIVERED".Does not the Catholic teach Mary had no pain in delivering Jesus,after all, that is the curse for sin ? Genesis 3:16."in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children".

dave ruiz said...

Finally ,just because it is possible does not make it so, as an early church father said (Jerome or Augustine-not sure).If it did happen ,why would not it be mentioned in the bible, the others were ? We have the entire book of Acts , covering this time period of when she would have "assumed". I thought tradition says she did not outlive Peter and many of the apostles , and they make NO mention of it ? Why does Jerome say (400-500 a.d.)say no one (currently living) knows of her end. Why does he say this ? Were there stories floating around ? Is not his attitude ,"popycock"or "you are all full of hot air" I am sorry ,but this whole dogma is a late comer , and from what I hear on catholic radio, more late-coming accolades and tiles and honor and power are being asked for Mary to the Pope. I will not say this is a dogma deciding one's eternal fate (not as important as others).........We BOTH AGREE, that she is blessed indeed, in the strictest sense of the word. Because of the blood of the Lamb, and her faith bestowed by grace, in her savior and son (wow), she abides with her Lord , along with the apostles and forefathers (David, Abraham,Isaac ,and Jacob)and all the other saints. Alleluia

Anonymous said...

how can anyone say she was without sin?
Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23 both specifically point to Jesus as the ONLY sinless person ever.
To ascribe Mary to a position comparable to that of her Son is sinful.
You never hear Catholics talking about, praying to, worshipping, venerating JESUS! Its always Mary, as if she was the Savior.

Dan said...


Thanks for the comment and for sharing your interpretation of Scripture. I don't agree that the Bible claims infants, children, mentally disabled, and others have personally sinned. Just as other places in Scripture point out Jesus didn't sin (the two passages you list make no such exception) we also understand there are those who also don't sin.

Reading St. Paul's letter to the Romans you'll find a central theme of needing faith in Jesus for salvation and that none is justified apart from faith. Catholics understand Rom 3:23 to fit this theme; all are in need of Jesus for salvation; even Mary.

To your last point; if you're complimented 20 times and insulted once on a particular day; which do you remember? Listen closely to Catholics; every liturgical prayer ends with an invocation of the Trinity and nearly all prayers are book-ended with the Sign of the Cross. These plus the many references to Jesus in our prayers far, far, far outnumber any mention of Mary.

Perhaps your ear is trained to gloss over references to Jesus and to snap to attention at references to Mary. This is the only reason I can think of that you'd say we pay more attention to Mary.

God bless.