Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Sunday, August 17, 2014


ON AUGUST 15 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared into a dogma that Mary after her death here on earth was taken up into heaven with body and soul, like Jesus after his death and resurrection ascended into heaven with body and soul. Christians believe that after our death here on earth only our soul goes to heaven. Our body remains here on earth and will decay into dust. It is only at the end of time that the resurrection of our body and soul will take place.

The early Christian tradition called Mary the teotokos, the God bearer. She bore the Son of God in her womb. Because of this her body was made divine, and this is the reason also that Mary was taken up into heaven with body and soul, until the end of time.

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Mary has been an exceptional woman both during the Old and the New Testament. In Jewish tradition the woman was looked down on as a second rate citizen, inferior to man. In the history of Christianity the Church also has often looked down on the woman as inferior to man. But that is the clerical Church, not the Church of ordinary Christians. Women were burnt on the stake. In the history of Christianity more women than men are venerated as saints.

For many Christians the Blessed Virgin Mary is the strong and powerful woman of the New Testament, powerful in the spiritual sense, not in the worldly and political sense. Mary was called to become the mother of God Himself. God called her to be the Mother of Jesus, she bore the Baby Jesus in her womb. Imagine, she was a 15-year old girl and without any relations with a man. And then she was told that she would bear a son who would be called the Savior of the world. That was an astonishing revelation for her. How would that be possible? And yet Mary said: “Your will be done.” Mary had a tremendous faith in God that helped here to say, “Yes, Lord, I trust you.”

We Christians believe that we all have a calling in life. We do not know what God has in store for us. We must be ready to accept whatever will come to us and that God will help us to do his will. That is the example Mary has shown us to follow.

We must always remember also that Mary is a powerful intercessor in our life. Throughout the ages Filipinos have shown a fervent devotion to the Blessed Virgin. She is the patron saint of our nation.

Our BECs are run mostly by women. The women in the Church must be appreciated for the role they play in our Christian communities. They are in no way second rate citizens. To recognize that must be part also of our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 17, 2014.

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