At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."Can you imagine being one of the Apostles, witnessing the death of Mary the mother of Christ, and then having her body disappear in a tomb as well? They probably thought she was coming back. At least that is what I would think. In fact I'd be ready for it.
The Assumption is new for me. Well, relatively new. I've kind of known about it for a long time but before actually studying the Church I thought of it as just a bunch of rubbish. Now that I understand it better of course my mind has changed.
After suffering for so long - as a pregnant unmarried woman, fleeing Israel to avoid her son being killed as a baby, having her nephew beheaded, seeing her son tortured and put to death, watching her "children" in the church so badly persecuted and killed - now God has his reward for her. Remaining sinless throughout all those trials, she would not feel the pain of death.
Modern feminists make the Church out to look like it puts women down, or at least has in the past. Head coverings and not being allowed ordination are too oft used for these vicious lies. If the non-catholic would only take some time to understand the real reverence women are paid, they'd sit down and never speak another word about it. The greatest human person to ever live for us was a woman. (Christ is a divine person.) No man can ever attain the joys she has in heaven.
For her "Yes", born of free will, she helped attain for us the opportunity of heaven. For that this woman deserves all the rememberance and reverence we can give her. Praise and worship? Of course not. Mary is not a goddess, and the Assumption doesn't have anything to do with that. She was brought into heaven, she did not ascend to it like Christ. Of course if you are Catholic then you hopefully already know this.
These are just some of my thoughts on occasion of my first Assumption of Mary. Tonight I am going to Mass with my Methodist-minister-to-be friend Chrissy. I am really happy she wants to go with me for the experience. She loves our Lord and is doing her very best to serve him. I can't wait to hear what she thinks of the Latin Mass with all the bells and smells.
Links for this post:
EWTN article on the Assumption
Munificentissimus Deus (Domgatic)
Mary and the Eastern Christian - Byzantine Catholic Orthodox Mariology