Happy Assumption! Today we celebrate a special feast: the day which the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, was assumed body and soul into Heaven. The Assumption is a dogma every Catholic must believe as an infallible truth which Pope Pius XII defined in 1950 in Munificentissimus Deus.
Did the Apostles know Mary was assumed into Heaven? Here’s a tradition I love:
Before she was to die, the Apostles gathered together from all their different missions to see Mary for the last time. All, that is except poor Thomas. He somehow arrived too late, and Mary was already entombed by the time he arrived to see her. Still, Thomas wished to see her once more, even if she was already buried. So, the other Apostles took him to the tomb and opened it. But alas! Mary was no longer there. In the place where her body had so recently laid, were lovely flowers. She had been assumed into heaven, and Thomas was left to await seeing her face until he too would be in Heaven. While Thomas may never have had that last chance to see the Blessed Virgin before she left this earth, he received the privilege of making known to the whole world that Mary had indeed been taken up to Heaven!
We all may wonder how Thomas managed to miss out on some of the most important events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, like when Jesus appeared to the Apostles after the Resurrection or Mary’s death/dormition. But God used him as an example for us. We do not have to see these events happen to believe they occurred. In a way, like Thomas, we have arrived a little late in history to see for ourselves Mary’s Assumption, or even to see the flowers in her tomb or hear the story from the Apostles. However, we have strong evidence which supports the dogma of the Assumption and makes it an undeniable fact of history. We don’t have to see the wounds in Christ’s hands and feet and side to know He died for us and rose again; we don’t have to have seen Mary’s Assumption to know it happened either! We can believe without seeing. God has given us ample evidence for the Assumption and a guarantee that the Church will never teach error, both very good reasons to believe that the event we celebrate today really truly happened.
“…blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)
Our Lady Assumed into Heaven, pray for us!
Here is a link to Munificentissimus Deus. I highly recommend reading this if you want the best possible understanding of the evidence on which this dogma is based and what a beautiful mystery it is! http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html