Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Feast of Blessed Mother Mary!

Today is the feast of the Dormition/Assumption of St Mary the Mother of Jesus.

The Dormition is the Eastern Orthodox reference to Mary's death. The Assumption is the Roman Catholic doctrine that says Mary was taken, body and soul, into heaven. Neither one denies the other (though some Roman Catholics deny that Mary died before she was assumed into Heaven).

For the longest time I wasn't sure how I felt about the whole doctrine of the Assumption; it felt so strange that just one person was taken up bodily into heaven (why not the Beloved Disciple?).

It felt like idolizing Mary. She gets what none of the disciples, none of the apostles or evangelists got. The rest of them are still, as St Paul would say, asleep. Mary alone was taken up after death. She wasn't a martyr, either.

But it does feel fitting because her 'yes' to God brought the Word into the world. Her assumption into Heaven shows what will happen to us all, too; we will all be taken up, body and soul, in the resurrection.

The collect (prayer) for this feast day also suggests that the Episcopal Church believes in the Assumption:

O God, who have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary,
mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been
redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your
eternal kingdom; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who
lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one
God, now and for ever. Amen.

So the Dormition and Assumption of Mary are glimpses into our own future. We all shall die, just as she did. Death did not spare Christ, and death did not spare Mary; however, death did not have the final say. Christ rose again from the dead, victorious over sin and death, and Mary was taken up into Heaven because Christ's resurrection robbed death of power.


The Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church have produced a joint document on Mary, available here: Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ.


I was asked about my fortune from a while ago. My fortune cookie at the end of April said that in three months something wonderful would happen. I can't say one single fantastic thing happened. I didn't hit the lottery, my knight in shining armor didn't ride into town to sweep me off my feet, and I didn't get some special revelation from God. Not all was in vain, though; the journey that brought me to the end of July was a fantastic one, and I feel more sure of what I'm called to do even if the road seems a lot longer and bumpier than I thought it would.

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