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The Feast of the Assumption


On 1 November 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary as a dogma of the Catholic faith:

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, 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 into heavenly glory (p.44).

The Feast of the Assumption is one of the most celebrated feasts of the liturgical year. The belief that Mary was assumed into heaven at the end of her life was known amongst the early Church, as early as the 3rd Century AD. Although there is no scriptural evidence for the Assumption, we can assert through the faculties and gifts of faith and reason that it is indeed true. St. Francis de Sales (1567 -1662), after affirming that it is wrong to doubt that Jesus Christ has himself observed, in the most perfect way, the divine commandment by which children are ordered to honour their parents, asks this question: “What son would not bring his mother back to life and would not bring her into paradise after her death if he could?” And St. Alphonsus (1696 – 1787) writes that “Jesus did not wish to have the body of Mary corrupted after death, since it would have redounded to his own dishonor to have her virginal flesh, from which he himself had assumed flesh, reduced to dust.”

There have only been two infallible statements made by a Pope in the history of the Church. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception made by Pope Pius IX in 1854, and the dogma of the Assumption. It is interesting to note that both infallible teachings are about Mary. The Church teaches about and gives reverence to Mary, due to her merits as the mother of God. It is through Christ and the grace Christ bestowed on her, that she receives the highest place of honour among humanity.

We pray to our Blessed Mother today that she will continue to intercede on our behalf to her Son, and watch over us with the motherly love she possesses for the entire human race:

O Blessed Virgin Mary,

united to the victorious Christ in heaven,

you are the image and first-flowering of the Church

as she is to be perfected in the world to come.

You shine forth as a sign of sure hope and solace

for the pilgrim People of God.

In your Assumption,

you manifest the fullness of redemption

and appear as the spotless image of the Church

responding in joy

to the invitation of the Bridegroom, your Son,

who is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Grant that we may follow your example on earth

thereby imitating your Son as well

and being enabled to share your glory,

with Him for all eternity.



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