You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death'" No. The belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother has been longstanding in our Church. We must remember that the early Church was preoccupied with resolving questions about Christ, particularly His incarnation and the hypostatic union His divine and human natures. However, in addressing these questions, the Church gradually defined the titles of Mary as Mother of God and as New Eve, and the belief of the Immaculate Conception, all of which form the basis for the Assumption.
John Damascene, St. Andrew of Crete, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and St. Gregory of Tours, to name a few.
The Assumption of Mary - Catholic Family News
Bishop Theoteknos of Livias c. For even though her God-bearing body tasted death, it did not undergo corruption, but was preserved incorrupt and undefiled and taken up into heaven with its pure and spotless soul. John Damascene d. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon , made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St.
Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven. Also, if Mary bore Christ and played an intimate role as His mother in the redemption of man, then she must likewise share body and soul in His resurrection and glorification. Some historians speculate that the celebration was already widespread before the Council of Ephesus in By the end of the 6th century, the West likewise celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. While the Church first emphasized the death of Mary, gradual shifts in both title and content occurred so that by the end of the 8th century, the Gregorian Sacramentary had prayers for Assumption Day.
The Feast of the Assumption gives each of us great hope as we contemplate this one facet of the beautiful woman of faith, our Blessed Mother. Mary moves us by example and prayer to grow in God's grace, to be receptive to His will, to convert our lives through sacrifice and penance, and seek that everlasting union in the heavenly Kingdom.
In , the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their letter Behold Your Mother," stated, "Christ has risen from the dead, we need no further assurance of our faith. Mary assumed into heaven serves rather as a gracious reminder to the Church that our Lord wishes all whom the Father has given Him to be raised with Him. In Mary taken to glory, to union with Christ, the Church sees herself answering the invitation of the heavenly Bridegroom. Religious Catalogue. Subsequently, blessed Mary finished the course of this life and was summoned from the world; and all the Apostles were gathered together, each from his own area, at her home.
On hearing that she was to be taken up from the world, they kept watch with her. All at once her Lord came with angels, took her soul, delivered it to Michael the Archangel, and disappeared. At daybreak, however, the Apostles lifted up the body together with the funeral-bed, placed it in a tomb, and kept watch over it, in readiness for the Lord's coming.
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And again, all at once the Lord stood by them and ordered the holy body taken up and carried on a cloud to paradise. There, reunited with the soul, it rejoices with his elect and enjoys eternity's blessings which will never end. The oldest extant homily seems to be that of John of Thessalonica d.
Interestingly, John gives testimony to the widespread belief in the Assumption, as well as his belief in the authenticity of what may be the Transitus Mariae stories, but also the fact that these accounts were disputed:. Some people committed to writing the wonderful things that happened in her regard at that time.
Practically every place under heaven celebrates every year the memory of her going to her rest, with the exception of only a few, including the region around this divinely protected city of Thessalonica. Why is this? Shall we condemn the carelessness or laziness of those who have gone before us?
Surely we must not say or even think anything of the sort, since they and no one else left this excellent principle as a kind of law for their homeland: that we should celebrate in the Spirit the memory not only of our local saints, but of practically all who struggled for Christ, anywhere in the world, so that in these intercessory gatherings we might grow closer to God. Our forebears, then, were neither heedless nor lazy; yet although those who were present then [at Mary's death] described her end truthfully, we are told, mischievous heretics later corrupted their accounts by adding words of their own, and for this reason our ancestors distanced themselves from these accounts as not in accord with the Catholic Church.
For this reason, the feast of her Domition passed, among them, into oblivion We have ourselves spent no small effort preparing to set before your devout ears--to awaken and to build up your souls--not everything we have found written, in different ways, in different books, about that event, but only what truly happened, what is remembered as having taken place, and what is witnessed until today by the existence of actual sites. We have gathered these testimonies together in love of truth and in fear of God, taking no account of fabricated stories, since they have been interpolated into the traditions by the malice of those who fabricated them.
In , a badly damaged manuscript of a homily by Theoteknos, bishop of Livias in Palestine, was discovered at St. Catherine's monastery on Mount Sinai. This homily from the first half of the seventh century testifies to the understanding of the Palestinian Church on Mary's end: "The assumption of the body of the holy one, and her ascension to heaven, took place on the fifteenth day of August, which is the sixth day of the month of Mesore.
And there was joy in heaven and on earth, as the angels struck up the hymn, while human beings glorified the mother of the King of Heaven, who had herself glorified the human race: the Mother of God While she lived on earth, she watched over us all, and was a kind of universal providence for her subjects.
Now that she has been taken up into heaven, she is an unassailable fortification for the human race, and intercedes for us with God the Son.
Life of Mary (XIX): Dormition and Assumption
In the homilies of the Eastern Fathers, we can see a theological appreciation of the mystery. Thus St. Germanus, the Patriarch of Constantinople d. You had a body just like one of us, and therefore you could not escape the event of death that is the common destiny of all human beings. In the same way, your Son, even though He is the God of all things, Himself tasted death Hebrews Surely He has performed miracles both in His own life-giving tomb and in the life-giving sepulcher where you were laid to rest: both tombs really received bodies, yet neither of them was a workshop of decay.
For it was impossible that you, the vessel which bore God, should be dissolved and decomposed into the dust of death. Since He who emptied Himself into you was God from the beginning, and life eternal, the Mother of Life had to become a companion of life, had to experience death simply as a falling-asleep; you had to undergo your passage from this world as an awakening to your own reality author of Life. For as a child seeks and yearns for its own mother, and as mother loves to live with her child, it as fitting that you, in your motherly tenderness for your Son and God, should go to Him; and it was certainly right that God, holding on to His filial love for you.
His mother, should confirm His intimacy with you by making you a sharer in His life Because you, then, are His eternal place of rest. He has taken you to Himself in his incorruption, wanting, one might say, to have you near to His words and near to His heart. Nature itself has been called forth from the condemnation of corruption, has taken on a new state, rooted in incorruption.
What a transformation! What newness! What divine exchange! Nature brought forth a will that produced thorns Is ; but she, in contrast has brought forth one who fulfilled His Father's will. Nature gave painful birth to the death we freely chose in our disobedience; but she, instead, has brought forth the one who destroyed death by His obedience. She, she alone, has been chosen for the renewal of our nature, beyond nature's powers; she alone subjected herself fully to the one who formed all natures from nothing.
Today the living city of God is transported from the earthly Jerusalem to 'the Jerusalem which is on high' Hebrews ; she who was brought forth, as her own first-born, the 'first-born of all creation' Colossians , the only-begotten of the Father cf. John , now dwells in the 'assembly of the first-born' Hebrews The gates of Paradise are opened and welcome the field that bore God, where the tree of eternal life has grown, to put an end to the disobedience of Eve and the death imposed on Adam.
This Christ, the cause of life for all people, welcomes the cave that has not been hollowed out. The bridal chamber of the Word's holy Incarnation has come to rest in her glorious tomb, as in her mansion; when she ascended to the shrine of her heavenly nuptials, to reign in public splendor with her Son and her God, she left the tomb as a bridal chamber for those who live on earth.
There were different opinions as to whether Mary died; a minority believed she did not. There was no mention of a burial place until the fifth century after the Council of Ephesus. Emperor Maurice, around , restored the church built one hundred years before on the Virgin's tomb at Gethsemane.
Burghardt argues against Ephesus as the site of Mary's burial: "The evidence for Ephesus is meager, vague, equivocal. It does not justify a confident affirmation, though it may permit a temporary conjecture, that before , a tradition existed which localized the grave of our Lady in Ephesus. Only after , were the martyrs honored on the dies natalis.
In the fifth century the feast of the memory of Saint Mary was celebrated but not in the Gallican church, which, however, began to celebrate the Assumption in the first half of the sixth century.
Dormition or Falling Asleep of the Virgin
The feast of the Dormition began in the East in the sixth century. It began in the second half of that century in the Syrian Jacobite Church. The Coptic Monophysite Patriarch, Theodosius, changed the feast of the commemoration of Mary into a feast of her death January 16 and of her bodily resurrection and assumption August 9.
In the West, the feast was introduced to Rome by Pope Theodore This became the principal Marian feast because it commemorated the day of her death, similar to the feasts of the martyrs and saints. Initially the feast was called the dormitio but eventually the title assumptio became the accepted name. Sergius I prescribed the stational procession for the feast of the Dormition.
A prayer which begins with the word Veneranda appears to have been inserted in the liturgy at this time:. Venerable in our eyes, O Lord, is this feast day, on which the holy Mother of God submitted to temporal death, yet could not be weighed down by death's fetters - she who gave birth of her own self to your Son, our Lord in flesh.
Let come to the aid of your people, O Lord, the prayer of God's Mother; though we know that she has departed this life conformably to the condition of flesh, may we experience her intercession for us in the glory of heaven. This prayer, the Veneranda and another, the Subveniat prayers for Assumption Day were in the Roman or Gregorian Sacramentary, which Adrian I quoted in a letter to Charlemagne in The Veneranda prayer was retained in the Dominican rite. In the Preface of a seventh century Gothic Gallican Mass, we can see testimony to the faith in the Assumption:.
It is meet and just. Almighty God, that we give great thanks at this day and time, honorable above others, when faithful Israel went out from Egypt and the Virgin Mother of God passed from earth to Christ. She inherited no touch of corruption, and felt not its effect in her grave.
The Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
She was free from all stain, glorious in her Conception, made secure in her Assumption, and crowned in her reward in paradise. She had suffered no virgin's loss in marriage, yet had her desire in the fruit of her womb. She endured no pains in her travail, nor fatigue in her transit to heaven. In life she was unstained through acts of her own, and in death undissolved by the forces of nature.
Pope St. Leo IV d.
Nicholas I d.