Assumption of the Blessed Mother

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother and it is a beautiful and important feast in our liturgical calendar. It is also a relatively new solemnity in that the Assumption of Mary was declared a dogma of the Church in 1950.

Assumption of Mary

Image by Peter Paul Rubens (1626) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

What is the Assumption of Mary?

The Assumption of Mary is the event in which God to Mary to heaven – body and soul. When you and I die, our soul will go to heaven, purgatory or hell and our bodies will decay as it waits for the final Resurrection at the end of times. Mary, however, didn’t have to wait. Right now, Mary is in heaven with her soul and body already united.

Some theologians and thinkers believe that Mary was given the grace of not having to die and was assumed into heaven without dying first. Others believe that Mary did die, in imitation of Christ who died for us, but was assumed into heaven shortly after her death. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter whether you believe Mary died before she was assumed or not. We are required to believe that Mary was, in fact, brought to heaven with her body and soul, not how it happened.

The Assumption is NOT the Ascension.

Many people get the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Jesus confused. That’s completely  understandable given that both feasts celebrate Jesus and Mary’s “entrance” into heaven body and soul. Here is the difference: In the Ascension of Jesus, 40 days after His Resurrection, Jesus ascends back to heaven through HIS OWN POWER. You can read about Jesus’ ascension at the end of the gospels in the bible. In the assumption, Mary is taken to heaven by POWER of GOD. Mary did NOT take herself to heaven, nor was she capable of doing so. The assumption is a gift and a grace of God that was granted to Mary.

Why was Mary Assumed into Heaven? 

During her life, Mary had a unique share in the suffering and death of Jesus. She carried him in her womb, she raised Him, and she followed Him in the most perfect way. Therefore, it seems fitting that she gets to have a unique share of His glory. 🙂

The significance of the Assumption.

This solemnity of the Assumption should give us great joy and hope. Mary is in heaven, in her glorified body just like we will be when the time comes. Thus, her Assumption is a peek of our future destiny. When we die, we know that our souls are separated from our bodies. But, this is temporary. When Jesus returns at the second coming, our souls and bodies will be reunited again in our own glorified bodies.

The Assumption reminds us that our life on earth isn’t all there is; we have a destiny. Jesus is our destiny. Heaven is real and it is our destiny. We live in hope that we will be with the Blessed Trinity, all the Saints and Angels in heaven, FOREVER. How awesome is that?!

How can we celebrate this special Solemnity?

1. The first thing you should do is go to Mass. As a matter of fact, the feast of the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation, so technically you “have” to go. Of course, we don’t celebrate the Eucharist just because we have to, right? We go to Mass because we want to. 😉

2. Pray the glorious mysteries of the rosary. The glorious mysteries include the Assumption of Mary. “Bonus points” if you pray as a family!

3. In times past, most parishes would have a procession in Our Lady’s honor on this day. It’s not that common anymore, however, your (or a  nearby) parish is doing a procession, consider participating in it. If there aren’t any local processions available, you can put do a small procession for yourself and your family.

4. If you have time, you can do some crafts with your kids like this one at crafolic.com or this one at catholicmom.com.

5. You can also make an Assumption themed meal or treat like I found here and here (scroll down to the Assumption) on catholiccuisine.com.

These are just a few ideas. I’m sure with a little thought you will be able to come up with your own way of honoring Our Lady. May your day be blessed!

Resources to deepen your understanding  of this great Solemnity:

New Advent

About.com

AssumptionMary.com

The Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8, is the glorious solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day that all Catholics should celebrate with joy and thanksgiving because this amazing gift to Mary is also a gift for us!

Immaculate Conception

Image by Murillo (1678) via wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

What is the purpose of the Solemnity?

This solemnity celebrates the great grace given to Mary in virtue of the fact that she was to be the mother of Our Savior: She was conceived without original sin.

We are all born with original sin thanks to our first parents, Adam and Eve. At baptism original sin is washed away. But for Mary, she was freed from original sin at the moment of her conception.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in articles 490-493:

“Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137″

This is a wonderful mystery that we would do well to meditate upon. I encourage you to go deeper into this mystery and for more information you can go here.

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Tweetable: The Immaculate Conception

7 Links About the Rosary

Rosary and bible

photo credit: Courtney Emery via photopin cc

Piggybacking off the previous post on Catholics and the Rosary, today I am going to give you a compilation of links and resources about the rosary:

1. Why Pray the rosary?

2. History of the rosary.

3. theholyrosary.org (many links about the rosary)

4. 15 Promises of the rosary.

5. The rosary and Sacred Scripture (from EWTN)

6. Praying the rosary (How-to)

7. How to pray the rosary printable – in pdf format (from New Advent)

There are tons of other links, books, and information about Mary and our Catholic devotion to Mary. I encourage you to do some reading to deepen your understanding and appreciation for the rosary. I know a lot of people who struggle praying the rosary, in fact, I was one of them; however, I’ve come to love praying the rosary and I hope you do too!

(The books by St. Louis de Montfort are wonderful (and pretty well-known) books about Mary and the Rosary that you  could start with first.)

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Tweetables:

7 Links About the Rosary

Rosary resources just for you!

Why do Catholics Worship Mary?

(I have had a few emails and questions about Mary and the rosary recently; thus, I am reposting this series.)

Mary

photo credit: Qfamily via photopin cc

May is the month traditionally dedicated to Mary, so I thought it would be good to talk about our Catholic devotion to her. A lot of non-Catholics, and sadly some Catholics, believe that Catholics worship Mary and that is simply not true.

Catholics HONOR Mary as the mother of Jesus. They DO NOT worship Mary. If they do, they are completely wrong and mislead. Worship belongs to God and God alone.

According to dictionary.com, to honor someone is to show “high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor” and to worship someone means  “reverent honor and homage paid” or “the object of adoring reverence or regard.”  See the difference? We give our worship to God but we honor Mary as the mother of Jesus.

You see, Mary is who she is BECAUSE of who Jesus is. She was given signal graces because she was chosen to be the mother of GOD. That is why we honor her and love her.

You can also think about it this way: usually, especially those of us who have a good relationship with our mothers, of course we would want others to respect our mothers. How much more would Jesus? Of course he would expect us to honor her and respect her, and so we Catholics do.

Our devotion to Mary is centered on Jesus, and ALL true devotion to Mary leads to Jesus – ALWAYS. If not, then there is something wrong with the devotion. 🙂  Speaking of devotions, if are looking for devotions to honor Mary this month, here are 7 Ways to Honor Mary.

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Have a question about the Catholic faith or confused about some Catholic doctrine or devotion? Contact me and I will do my best to answer your question in a future post. You can email me at carol (at ) simplecatholicliving (dot) com or use my contact page.

photo credit: Qfamily via photopin cc

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

December 8 is the glorious solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day that all Catholics should celebrate

Immaculate Conception

Image by Murillo (1678) via wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

with joy and thanksgiving because this amazing gift to Mary is also a gift for us!

What is the purpose of the Solemnity?

This solemnity celebrates the great grace given to Mary in virtue of the fact that she was to be the mother of Our Savior: She was conceived without original sin.

We are all born with original sin thanks to our first parents, Adam and Eve. At baptism original sin is washed away. But for Mary, she was freed from original sin at the moment of her conception.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in articles 490-493:

“Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137″

This is a wonderful mystery that we would do well to meditate upon. I encourage you to go deeper into this mystery and for more information you can go here.

Additionally, this year (2015-2016) the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is extra special because it marks beginning of the extraordinary jubilee of the Year of Mercy! The Holy Father says that mercy is the “beating heart of the Gospel” and that mercy is exemplified in the this solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

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Tweetable: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

 

The Great Feast of the Assumption

The Assumption of Mary (Public Domain Image)

Today we celebrate the beautiful feast of the Assumption. It is the day we have been spiritually preparing for the last 9 days during our novena. But you may be asking yourself, “What is the Assumption about any way?” or, “Why is Assumption important?  or, maybe you are wondering, like someone who recently asked me, “What is the difference between the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Jesus?

What exactly is the feast of the Assumption?

The feast of the Assumption is the day where we Catholics remember and honor the singular grace given to Our Lady: being taken from earth BODY and soul into heaven.

When we die, our souls goes to heaven, hell or purgatory as we await the resurrection of the dead while our bodies decay. However, Our Blessed Mother, who was conceived without sin and lived in perfect obedience to God’s will, was assumed body and soul, into heaven. Unlike us, Mary didn’t have to wait, unlike us!

What is the difference between the Assumption and the Ascension?

The Ascension is celebrated 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead (Easter Sunday). It is the day that Jesus ascended to heaven by his own will and power. And therein lies the difference between the Assumption and the Ascension. Jesus ascends by his own power, Mary can not. It is by the power of God that Mary is assumed, of herself, Our Lady can do nothing.

Mary is assumed into heaven and Jesus ascended into heaven. Got it? 🙂

What is the significance of the Assumption?

Celebrating the Assumption reminds us of our destiny: heaven. Mary’s Assumption is a foreshadowing of what awaits us! If we live our life according to God’s will, if we die in the state of grace, we too will be with God, Our Lady, the saints and angels – forever! And, it is a reminder that at the resurrection of the dead at the end of time, we will be reunited with our bodies – our own personal assumption.  How mind-blowing and amazing!

How can we celebrate this special day?

1. The first thing you should do is go to mass. As a matter of fact, the feast of the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation, so technically you “have” to go. Of course, we don’t celebrate the Eucharist just because we have to, no? 😉

2. Another thing you can do is pray the glorious mysteries of the rosary, as a family if you can.

3. Traditionally, the churches would have a procession in Our Lady’s honor. If your parish is doing a procession, consider joining or put one together yourself for your family.

4. You can do crafts with your kids like this one at crafolic.com or this one at catholicmom.com.

5. You can also make a special meal or treat like I found here and here (scroll down to the Assumption) on catholiccuisine.com.

These are just a few ideas. I’m sure with a little thought you will be able to come up with your own way of honoring Our Lady. May your day be blessed!

31 Days With Mary: Day 31

Mother Mary(Photo Credit)

Mary: The Visitation

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” –Luke 1:41-45

Offering: Praying the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary with devotion and love.

Thank you for praying this month-long devotion with me. I hope you have been blessed and graced during this time with Mary!

31 Days With Mary: Day 30

Mother Mary(Photo Credit)

Mary: Channel of Grace

“Since the fullness of the Divine Nature dwelt in Mary’s womb, the Blessed Virgin thereby, acquired a kind of jurisdiction over all graces, for the all the streams of Divine grace flow from her womb as from the ocean of Divinity which was within her.” –St. Bonaventure

Offering: A prayer, such as the Hail Mary, for someone in need of prayer.

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31 Days With Mary: Day 29

Mother Mary(Photo Credit)

Mary: Queen of Heaven

“She lives now and is protecting us. She is there in heaven, body and soul, with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…But we should never think that this sublime greatness of hers makes her inaccessible to us. She is the one who is full of grace and the sum of all perfections…and she is also our Mother.” –St. Jose Maria Escriva

Offering: Praying the Hail Holy Queen, devoutly and with attention, several times during the day.

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31 Days With Mary: Day 28

Mother Mary(Photo Credit)

Mary: Taken up to Heaven

“Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”–Pope Pius XII

Offering: Remaining silent with someone corrects of misjudges us.

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