The Assumption of OBM / the Dormition of the Theotokos.

I am not an apologist. I am afraid that I just wouldn’t have the patience for it. I truly admire the patience and sheer perseverance of people like Jimmy Akin and Time Staples et al that can over and over again explain the same thing.

It’s the feast day of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother today. The day she was taken bodily to heaven, having worked so hard and suffered so much so that her Son could redeem us.

The Tradition that Our Lady was went to heaven body and soul goes back to the beginning with plenty of Church Father’s writing about it. But there are still some people who get it into their heads that Pope Pius XII suddenly came up with idea and promulgated it out of the blue in 1950. Of course, this is not true. Pius simply sealed the doctrine in Munificentissimus Deus.

We know from the Old Testament that God took two men, Enoch and Elijah, body and soul and they had not died. I don’t actually think the fact that these two men were taken in the way they were is quite the same as how Mary was assumed, although it could be.

The question that is often asked is whether Mary died first or whether, like Elijah she was taken and never died. The Church remains silent on the matter. My personal view, which you can take or leave, is that she did die and then she was resurrected to heaven.

Those who argue against her death first say that death came into the world because of the sin of Adam and Eve and that Mary, the Second Eve did not sin and therefore did not need to die. I think this is a very good argument but the reasons I tentatively disagree (I am still wavering) are that Jesus died and that there is an empty tomb in Ephesus that has a long tradition it was Mary’s. It could be argued that she suffered so much at the foot of the cross that she did not have to die as the first only human to be sinless (Jesus is human and divine of course). While in the West we are still a bit “did she, didn’t she?” about whether Our Lady died

Prophecy has it that Enoch and Elijah will return and will die martyrs before the end, so even they have some sort of destiny that involves dying.

The other reason I think she died first is that she appears to have received her resurrected body. She is the firstborn of the promise Christ made of our resurrection. When Saint John sees her as the Ark of the Covenant (Rev 12) She is magnificent appearing as she a person who has received all the Promises of Christ about the resurrection.

It is also seen that most of the Church Fathers believed Mary died first and in pictures of the Dormition of the Theotokos she is often seen semi-shrouded.

The title Theotokos means God-Bearer, which I think of one of Our Lady’s most beautiful titles. In her appearance at Kibeho in Africa she called herself Mother of the Word, which can be seen as part of her title as Theotokos.

May she keep praying for us. We need it.


2 responses to “The Assumption of OBM / the Dormition of the Theotokos.

  1. I think that she didn’t “die” in the sense that we usually mean: death is the separation of body and soul, and is the result of Original Sin. Our Lord did need to die for us – he was in the tomb for three days (during which he is described as “descending into hell” – and his body was still in the tomb until the Resurrection.

    Our Lady was preserved from Original Sin by virtue of her Son’s Resurrection, by a special grace, and therefore she was assumed into heaven body and soul together: no separation. I like the traditional description of the Dormition – she “fell asleep.”

    Let’s face it, if you were God, and could stop your mother from having to undergo death, what would you do?


  2. I love that title: Mother of the Word. It is so beautiful.

    I thought of St. John who was not martyred either because of his presence at the crucifixion, but I must give this even more thought in regards to our Holy Mother and her assumption. I can see the rational for both sides of the fence, but I have always been taught that she died – as a means of separating herself from this world, and then was assumed as one entity, body and soul. Good stuff to ponder!! 🙂

    Blessings, Kalei

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