The Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God is August 15. Pope Pius XII stated on November 1, 1950 that as Roman Catholics, “we pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”
A dogma of faith means “a divinely revealed truth, proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church, and hence binding on all the faithful without exception, now and forever,” Cardinal Avery Dulles states [The Survival of Dogma, 153].
As Catholics, we observe this day as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Dormition, or “falling asleep” of Mary as she was assumed or received into heaven.
The site of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s passing has become a location for pilgrimage and the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary is located there. However, there are no relics of our Blessed Virgin Mary at all.
In fact, “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."*
“The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.”
Prayer for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
"All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."
Image: Ceiling of the Assumption of Mary in Santa Maria Immacolata a via Veneto, Rome | photo by Livioandronico
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!