Chapter 6: The Assumption of Mary Body and Soul into Heaven

Chapter 6: The Assumption of Mary Body and Soul into Heaven

Read ~ Chapter 18: The Assumption of Mary Body and Soul into Heaven

Father Anthony Nachef, STD: Youtube Instagram Facebook

The teachings contained in this chapter are based on Holy Scriptures, the Tradition of the Catholic Church [especially the First and the Second Vatican Councils, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Fathers of the Church (especially St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine)], the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (especially Saint Pope Paul VI, Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis). All Apostolic Encyclicals and Letters are found on the Vatican Website: Vatican 

Death is a challenging mystery

  • Our human nature has an innate tendency to exist. We love to live and we naturally want to live.
  • Death brings discontinuity in our human existence: When we wake up in the morning we don’t include death as a part of our schedule.
  • Death raises universal questions in the heart of every person: Who am I? Where am I going when I die? Every person, no matter how powerful they are, ponders and seeks an answer to this unsolvable enigma.

Death is the result of sin 

  • The Bible, the Magisterium, and the Tradition of the Catholic Church have always taught that man and woman were created in a state of original innocence.
  • Because of their own free choice and at the promptings of the devil, Adam and Eve introduced sin into our history.
  • Sin is the reason behind the death of Adam and Eve and their descendants after them.
  • Adam and Eve would have never died if they hadn’t sinned: “Death was not God’s doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living… Yet God did make man imperishable, he made him in the image of his own natureit was the devil’s envy that brought death into the world.” (The Book of Wisdom 1:13 and 2:23-25)

Jesus’s Death and Resurrection is the only answer 

  • Political, anthropological, social, existential, magical, philosophical systems tried to answer the dilemma of death but they all failed.
  • They all failed because people still die no matter who they are.
  • The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ presents the only solution: We live forever with the Lord Jesus because he took our nature to share in the glory of the Divine Nature.
  • When we die, our soul will be immediately in the presence of God. Our body will rise on the last day to join our risen soul.
  • The Church hopes and prays that all bodies will rise to eternal glory not to eternal damnation on the last day.
  • It is different in the case of Mary. How?

Dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

  • We rejoice greatly that this solemn event falls, according to the design of God’s providence, during this Holy Year, so that we are able, while the great Jubilee is being observed, to adorn the brow of God’s Virgin Mother with this brilliant gem, and to leave a monument more enduring than bronze of our own most fervent love for the Mother of God. 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. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.” (Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, 43-45)

What is the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary

  • In 1950 Pope Pius XII announced the Church’s belief in the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven body and soul as a dogma of faith.
  • Whereas, the Church’s members have to wait until the end of time to experience the resurrection of the body, Mary has already experienced it. 
  • Except for the risen human nature of Christ, the humanity of Mary reached the highest level of glorification that could exist.
  • Jesus Christ went up to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. The Church calls it “Ascension” because he went up to heaven by his own divine power.
  • Mary was assumed by God into the glory of heaven, that is why it is called “Assumption”. Mary did triumph over sin and death through the grace of God (Immaculate Conception) and by her own free will. However, she needed the power of God to be assumed into heaven.

    Dogma of the Assumption is a part of the Church’s faith from the beginning

  • Pope Pius XII did not create a dogma out of nothing; it has always been there as a part of the Catholic faith from the beginning.
  • Being a dogma, the teaching about Mary’s Assumption is infallible and will never change. It is proclaimed “according to the design of God’s divine providence…in the light of the Spirit of Truth…by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The dogma of Mary’s Assumption is a result  of the Church’s ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people.
  • Pope Pius XII confirmed the Assumption dogma is revealed by God himself and will continue to be part of “the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church.” (Pope Pius XII, Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, 4-5)

Mary’s Assumption is related to her Immaculate Conception 

  • Pope Pius IX proclaimed Mary as Immaculate Conception in 1854.
  • Since Mary did not experience any sin under any form, the faithful Catholics have been expecting the Dogma of her Assumption because death and decay are the result of sin.
  • It pertains to God’s divine logic not to allow the body of the Virgin Mary to experience corruption, since it does not share the common fate of our sinful humanity. Mary’s Assumption is the ultimate fulfillment of the initial grace of her Immaculate Conception. Many fathers and theologians interpreted Psalm 131:8 in terms of Jesus not allowing his worthy Mother to experience corruption: “Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have have sanctified.”

The Dogma of Mary’s Assumption is taught by Holy Scripture: Many fathers and theologians interpreted Psalm 131:8 in terms of Jesus not allowing his worthy Mother to experience corruption: “Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have have sanctified.” The Arc of the Covenant in the Old Testament (that was kept in God’s temple) is a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary that was gloried in heaven, the eternal temple of God.

Psalm 44:10-14 is also an indication of the Assumption of Mary since the she is described as the queen entering the royal halls to sit at the right hand of the Redeemer. So is Song of Songs 3:6 where the Spouse of the Canticles “that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatic spices, of myrrh and frankincense” to be crowed. We can’t forget Revelation 12:1 where the vision of a woman who was clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet , and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 

Mary’s Death was not like ours

The Virgin Mary did not experience corruption: According to the Church Tradition, at the end of her life the Virgin Mary fell in a deep sleep and the Apostles found her tomb empty after 3 days. The deep sleep is called in Greek koimesis. Mary’s death was not like ours because she did not experience the corruption of her body. Pope Pius XII teaches in this regard: “God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul…The Blessed Virgin Mary, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave.” (Pope Pius XII, Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, 4-5)

Mary reversed the death of Eve: Since the second century, Mary has been called the New Eve (also insinuated at the wedding of Cana where Mary is called ‘woman”) because she must reverse the corruption of death. Eve introduced death, Mary reversed that curse by carrying the New Adam. Both man and woman need to have the curse of death reversed through the New man and the New Woman, Christ and the Virgin Mary. The Assumption of Mary is the logical expression of Christ’s redemption. 

The good news of destroying death has already taken place in the book of Genesis where God promised Eve a descendant who will redeem humanity. Mary is associated with Christ in reversing the curse of death since God was addressing Eve promising salvation. Pope Pius XII says in this regard: “Just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and the final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son should be brought to a close by the glorification of her virginal body…”  (Pope Pius XII, Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, 39)

Reason’s behind Mary’s Assumption

The body of the Virgin Mary carried God himself: Logically, God did not allow the body of the one who gave the eternal Son his human nature to experience decay. It is impossible because the human nature of Christ is the instrument of our salvation and that body was given to him by Mary. If Jesus is the medicine that heals humanity from death, Mary is the ‘spoon’ that contains the medicine. Without the spoon one can never receive the medicine. There is only one Savior; his name is Jesus Christ. Mary cooperated in the salvation of human race by giving birth to Christ. This giving birth to Jesus is not an action in the past without any repercussion for the future. The actions of Jesus have eternal value including his birth from the Virgin Mary. His historical birth is perfected in his heavenly birth when he brought his human nature to the dimension of the Divine Nature.  

There is a new element in the bosom of the Trinity after the Incarnation, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus: his human nature. It is right now with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever. As Jesus ascended into heaven, he did not leave His human nature behind. Jesus’ glorified humanity gives our human nature the possibility to share the life of the Most Holy Trinity. Since this nature was given to him by Mary, one can never exclude the Marian dimension from salvation. Her body, just like Jesus’ body, is glorified too and share the eternal glory of the Blessed Trinity. How can the body which gave Christ his human nature as an instrument of our salvation, be reduced to dust? Along those lines, Pope Pius XII teaches “that the august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes.” (Pope Pius XII, Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, 14)

St Robert Bellarmine, summarizing a long line of Church Fathers, said: “And who, I ask, could believe that the arc of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the though that this virginal flesh which had begotten God…could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.” (Conciones Habitae Lovanii, 40) 

If Jesus and Mary did not sin, why did they die?Why did Mary and Jesus die if they didn’t sin? The Fathers of the Church have taught us that the procedure of inversion is the way God chose to save the human race. Adam and Eve sinned and died. In order to reverse their death, Christ and the Virgin Mary went the same way and reversed death to life: Christ died only to rise and Mary slept only to be assumed into heaven. In his infinite love and wisdom, Christ tied up death and life into one mystery with two dimensions. Being one and the same mystery implies that resurrection is the natural and automatic result of death: Christ is the only hope that destroys the mystery of death by binding it to life. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of his mediation before the Father since only through the resurrection we can have access to share in the divine nature. The very first one who received the fruit of this mediation is the Blessed Virgin Mary. This why St. Pope John Paul II states: “By the mystery of the Assumption into heaven there were definitively accomplished in Mary all the effects of the one mediation of Christ the Redeemer of the world and Risen Lord: ‘In Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ’ (1 Cor. 15:22-23).” (Redemptoris Mater, 41)

A parallel between the First and the Second Coming of Christ: If God chose Mary to be an instrument in Christ’s First Coming (Annunciation), Mary will also be an instrument at his Second Coming (end of time). The reason behind that resides in the fact that God does not change his method or logic in salvation history. So, Mary is the Mother in history and in heaven; Christ is the Son in history and in heaven. Her role as a collaborator in his Incarnation will also be extended to be a collaborator is the final judgment. Along those lines St. Pope John Paul II states teaches: “In the mystery of the Assumption is expressed the faith of the Church, according to which Mary is ‘united by a close and indissoluble bond’ to Christ, for, if as Virgin and Mother she was singularly united with him in his first coming, so through her continued collaboration with him she will also be united with him in expectation of the second; ‘redeemed in an especially sublime manner by reason of the merits of her Son,’ she also has that specifically maternal role of mediatrix of mercy at his final coming.” (Redemptoris Mater, 41 and Lumen Gentium, 53) The Pope describes her role during and after her earthly life as a ‘service’. He continues: “The glory of serving does not cease to be her royal exaltation: assumed into heaven, she does not cease her saving service, which expresses her maternal mediation ‘until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect’.” (Redemptoris Mater, 41)

Consequences and spirituality behind Mary’s Assumption

The Assumption of Mary as the icon of the ChurchWhen we die our soul will be immediately with God (hopefully). Our bodies will decay in the ground. At the end of human history when space and time are no more there, all human bodies will rise from the dead. If my soul is with God, my risen body will join my soul and the totality of my person, a unity of body and soul, will be saved. God forbid if my soul is not with God, my body will rise and join my soul in hell at the end of time. That is why Jesus in John 5 taught that some will rise to the resurrection of life others will rise to the resurrection of damnation.

Right now, the new Adam Jesus and the new Eve Mary both are in heaven with their risen body and soul. What does the Church hope to accomplish when Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Dogma of the Assumption? The Church places Mary as her Icon, as her future. What the Church wants to be in the future has already been accomplished in the Virgin Mary, namely the resurrection of all bodies at the end of time. Vatican II describes Mary’s existence in heaven now as the eschatological fulfillment of the Church by saying: “In the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph. 5:27).” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 64) Saint Pope John Paul II gave a beautiful summary of the parallel between the pilgrimage of Mary and that of the Church: “Her (Mary’s) exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the Church, for individuals and for communities, for peoples and nations and, in a sense, for all humanity. It is indeed difficult to encompass and measure its range.” (Redemptoris Mater, 6) And also in that same sense: “Through her mediation, subordinate to that of the Redeemer, Mary contributes in a special way to the union of the pilgrim Church on earth with the eschatological and heavenly reality of the Communion of Saints, since she has already been ‘assumed into heaven’.” (Redemptoris Mater, 41)

Mary becomes the fulfillment of what the Church will be forever because in her is fulfilled the ultimate plan of God that will be fulfilled in the Church at the end of time. St. Pope John Paul II beautifully describes this theological truth by saying: “Thus in her Assumption into heaven, Mary is as it were clothed by the whole reality of the Communion of Saints, and her very union with the Son in glory is wholly oriented towards the definitive fullness of the Kingdom, when ‘God will be all in all’.” (Redemptoris Mater, 41)

A spiritual and logical note: Pope Pius XII said: “Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God’s law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother.” (Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, 38)

You might ask yourself how is the Virgin Mary’s Assumption going to affect me? The Virgin Mary whose will is united to the will of God wants every person to be saved. In her maternal prayers, intercessions, and protection, Mary will do everything to help us as any mother would do for her children. Try to develop a devotion to the Virgin Mary by praying the rosary and asking her to unite you to the mystery of her Son as much as possible. Being with Christ from the womb to the tomb, Mary’s presence in the mystery of her Son becomes the model for every person’s journey of faith.

Whatever we do in this body will affect our eternal salvation because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let us keep our eyes on the best model ever in human history: the Virgin Mary. Let us beg her as our mother to be with us now and at the hour of our death.

Capítulo 18: La Asunción de María Cuerpo y Alma al Cielo

Las enseñanzas en este capítulo se basan en las Escrituras Sagradas, la Tradiciones de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (CCC)), los Padres de la Iglesia (especialmente San Thomas Aquinas y San Agustín) él Magisterio de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente San Papa Pablo VI, San Papa John Paul II y Papa Benedicto XVI). 

El Dogma de la Asunción de la Virgen María: En 1950 el Papa Pío XII (hacia el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial) anuncia un dogma: la suposición de María al cielo, cuerpo y alma. Cuando Cristo subió al cielo lo llamamos la “ascensión” porque él subió al cielo con su propio poder. En el caso de la Virgen María, ella fue asumida por Dios a la realidad del cielo, el cuerpo y alma. Al final de su vida la Virgen María cayó en un sueño profundo, y después de unos días, los Apóstoles encontraron su tumba vacía. El sueño profundo se llama koimesis en Griega. La muerte de María no es como nuestra muerte.

Las Santas Escritura, el Magisterio, y la Tradición de Iglesia Católica siempre han enseñado que la muerte es un resultado del pecado. Adán y Eva nunca verán muerto no vean pecado. ¿Por qué murieron María y Jesús si no pecaron? Los padres de la iglesia nos han enseñado que el procedimiento de la inversión es la razón porque Dios escogió salvar la naturaleza humana. Adán y Eva pecaron y murieron. Al revés de su muerte, Cristo y la Virgen María se fueron en la misma manera excepto que Cristo resucitó y María asumió al cielo. 

La muerte trae la discontinuidad a nuestra existencia humana. Cuando nos despertamos en las mañanas no incluimos la muerte como parte de nuestro horario. Nuestra naturaleza humana tiende a la existencia y continuidad de estando vivo. El sufrimiento y la muerte genera preguntas que personas de todos los tiempos se preguntan, ¿Quien soy? ¿A donde voy? ¿Cómo sufrió? ¿Cuando las personas mueren que les pasa? Cada persona, no importando que poderoso son, pensaran y buscarán una respuesta a este enigma. 

Lógicamente, Dios no permitió que el cuerpo de aquel que le dio al Hijo eterno su naturaleza humana experimentará la decadencia. Es imposible porque la naturaleza humana de Cristo es el instrumento de la salvación y ese cuerpo se lo dio María. Nunca podemos excluir la dimensión Mariano de la salvación. Si Jesús es la medicina que cura la humanidad de la muerte, María es la cuchara que contiene la medicina. Sin la cuchara uno nunca podría recibir la medicina. Solo hay un salvador y su nombre es Jesucristo. María copero con la salvación de la raza humana dando a luz a Cristo: su naturaleza humana ahora está con el Padre y el Espíritu Santo para siempre. Como Jesús subió al cielo, no dejó su naturaleza humana atrás. La humanidad de Jesús siendo el seno de la Trinidad, le dio a nuestra naturaleza humana la posibilidad de compartir la vida con la majoria de la Santísima Trinidad.

Puede que se pregunte ¿cómo va a afectarme la suposición de la Virgen María? La Virgen María, cuya voluntad está unida a la voluntad de Dios, quiere que cada persona sea salva. En sus oraciones maternas, intercesiones, protección, María hará todo lo posible para ayudarnos como cualquier madre haría por su hijo. Intenta desarrollar una devoción a la Virgen María rezando el rosario y pidiéndole que te inserte en el misterio de su Hijo tanto como sea posible. 

La Asunción de María como el Icono de la Iglesia: Ahora mismo, el nuevo Adan y La nueva Eva estan en el cielo con su cuerpo y alma resucitado. ¿Que deseaba  realizar la Iglesia cuando el Papa Pío XII proclamó el dogma de la Suspicion? La Iglesia colocó María como su Icono, como su futuro. Lo que la iglesia quiere ser en el futuro ya se ha logrado con la Virgen María. Cuando muramos, nuestra alma estará inmediatamente con Dios (con suerte). Nuestros cuerpos se descompondrá en el suelo. Al final de la historia humana, cuando el espacio y el tiempo ya no estén allí, todos los cuerpos humanos resucitarán de entre los muertos. Si mi alma está con Dios, mi cuerpo resucitado se unirá a mi alma y la totalidad de mi persona, una unidad de cuerpo y alma, se salvará. Dios no lo permita si mi alma no está con Dios, mi cuerpo se levantará y unirá mi alma en el infierno (Dios no lo permita) al final de los tiempos. Es por eso que San Pablo enseñó que algunos se elevarán a la resurrección de la vida, otros se levantarán a la resurrección de la condenación.

Cualquier cosa que hagamos en este cuerpo afectará nuestra salvación eterna porque es el templo del Espíritu Santo. Mantengamos nuestros ojos en el mejor modelo que haya existido en la historia de la humanidad: la Virgen María. Vamos a suplicarle como nuestra madre para que esté con nosotros ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.