The Assumption of Mary

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

What is the Assumption of Mary?Assumption of Mary

The Assumption of Mary is where God in His awesome mercy “assumed” Mary into heaven body and soul.

Some “camps” believe that Mary was given the grace of not having to die and was assumed without dying. Some “camps” believe that that in imitation of Christ that Mary did die but was assumed into heaven shortly after. According to my understanding, it doesn’t matter whether one believes Mary died or not first, what matters is the belief that Mary was brought to heaven and lives in heaven body and soul.

The Assumption is NOT the Ascension.

Some people get the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Jesus confused. That’s understandable given that both feasts celebrate Jesus and Mary’s “entrance” into heaven. Here is the difference: In the Ascension, 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 assumption, Mary is brought to heaven through the mercy and power of God. Mary did NOT take herself to heaven, nor is she capable of doing so. It is a gift and a grace that God has granted her.

And why not? From a human perspective, it seems only fair that since Mary had a share in Jesus’ suffering and death that get gets to have a 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, body and soul, in her glorified body. Her Assumption is a peek into our future destiny. When we die, we know that souls are separated from our bodies. But, when Jesus returns again are souls and bodies will be reunited in our 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 is our destiny. One day we will be with the Blessed Trinity, all the Saints and Angels in heaven, FOREVER. How awesome is that?!

Resources to deepen your understanding  of this great Solemnity:

New Advent

About.com

AssumptionMary.com

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Significance of the Assumption of Mary

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Ascension Thursday

Jesus Ascension(Image in Public domain)

“When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11

Today is the beautiful feast day of the Ascension. It is the day we celebrate when Jesus took his rightful place – Ascending into heaven of His own power – at the right hand of the Father. It is also a reminder for us that someday, after the final judgement, will be reunited into our glorified body and live forever with Jesus in heaven (or eternally separated from Him in hell.)

Because of its significance, the feast of the Ascension is a holy day of obligation. From what I have read on about.com, all the dioceses of the US – except Boston, New York, Hartford, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia – have transferred the obligation to the following Sunday, June 1. HOWEVER, here in NJ,  the Metuchen and Trenton Dioceses are maintaining the obligation for today, the actual feast day, and so may many others. Therefore, if you are not certain if the feast is celebrated today or Sunday in your church, I encourage you to contact your local parish office.

To read more about this glorious feast go here, here and here.

Ancient Catholic Prayer for the Ascension

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God,
that we who believe
Thine only-begotten Son our Redeemer,
to have ascended this day into heaven,
may ourselves dwell in spirit amid heavenly things. Amen.

(From the Roman Missal [6th-8th Century]. Found this beautiful prayer here.)

 

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!