Those are Mountain Laurel above, which I picked, so to speak, for Mary Immaculate on the way home from the Day Off yesterday. Hours later I got a text asking about the Assumption of Mary. As I just did for the virginity of Mary – Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (random notes on virginity, edition) – here are some random thoughts as fast as I can type.
- The phrase The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Soul and Body into Heaven does not appear in the Sacred Scriptures just like that. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. Thus, the phrase The Most Holy Trinity doesn’t appear in the Sacred Scriptures just like that. But we do read about the Creator, about YHWH Elohim and about the Holy Spirit throughout the Old Testament, and then, very specifically, in the New Testament, the Jews are not at all scandalized at Philip speaking in this manner, but are upset that he said that they were also guilty of the blood of Jesus. Also, there’s the great commission to preach to all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Can anyone deny the Most Holy Trinity, Three Persons, One God, because the word “Trinity” or Tri-Unity doesn’t appear. So, let’s dismiss that gotcha rubbish. God made us smarter than doing up gotcha rubbish.
- Would it be appropriate for Mary to go to heaven, seeing that she was so much in solidarity with her Son, risking getting stoned to death if Joseph would have turned her in, risking giving birth to Jesus in Bethlehem where in fact Herod killed all the male children two years old and under trying to kill Jesus, having to go into exile in an arch-enemy country (pure hell for years), witnessing the inept and brutally idiot apostles for years, standing alone under the cross until John came back, witnessing her Son ripped to shreds in front of her? Yes. But that appropriateness would not be a proof.
- Would it be appropriate for Mary to go to heaven, soul and body, because, you know, her Son Jesus went to heaven, soul and body, and she, like, you know, was mother of that biological part of the human nature of the divine Person of Jesus, who was entirely God and man in one divine Person? Yes. But that appropriateness would not be a proof.
- There seems to be a rock-solid tradition that Mary was assumed soul and body into heaven that goes waaaaaaaaay back to the beginning, very soon had references in the liturgy, and was uninterruptedly part and parcel of the belief of the Christian people everywhere: Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est – What everywhere, always and by everyone is believed. But that’s not gonna convince anyone. They’ll just say that that’s stubborn entrenchment. And that’s because the certainty of this faith is more obviously true than that you see your hand in front of your face rests on something else, and that something else is feared.
- It is Mary’s Immaculate Conception which is proof of the Assumption of Mary, soul and body, into heaven. So, let’s take a look at Mary’s having been immaculate conceived in the Sacred Scriptures, Old and New, and see if the consequences such an event inescapably bring us to admission, ever so joyfully, mind you, of the assumption of Mary soul and body into heaven…
GENESIS 3:15 — I wrote a thesis on this. I wish people would read it. But anyway, in short, the Redeemer, YHWH Elohim incarnate, is to be born of The Woman sometime future to the writer of Genesis 3:15. He will be her seed. That’s biologically weird, right? Women don’t have a seed. Men do. But the Son will be her seed. What this refers to in context is that she is not part of Adam’s seed, Adam’s progeny of original sin. She is apart from the sin of Adam. Her progeny is, absolutely, hers. If she is not destroyed by original sin, if she is would stain of that sin, without that macula, she is immaculate in her conception. She’s the Immaculate Conception. But what does that have to do with the Assumption? Hold on. Let’s see Luke.
LUKE 1:28 — Here the angel’s salutation is written down by Luke as inspired by the Holy Spirit. That greeting, Κεχαριτωμένη, is a perfect participle. Sorry to be pedantic here, but it’s important. In biblical Greek, the perfection of the perfect “tense” is actually perfect. The angel literally said: Rejoice you who perfectly continue to stand perfectly transformed in grace from the time when [fill in the blank from context] until now. Text without context is pretext. The context is that the time whence Mary was perfectly transformed in grace and perfectly continued in that perfection until now is when she first received her vocation to be the virgin Mother of God, that is, from eternity, but practically received when she was conceived by Joachim and Ann by an intervention of the Holy Spirit.
So, great! Mary was immaculate conceived. What does that have to do with the Assumption, even as a proof of the Assumption of Mary soul and body into heaven? Glad you asked. Buckle up!
Original sin dumbs us down with weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions now chaotic because no longer following but always attempting to lead reason, suffering distraction, suffering the violence of others, and there’s sickness and death. Mary was free from all that, right? Yes and no. Personally, yes, but because her immaculateness provided purity of heart, agility of soul, clarity of vision, profundity of understanding, and, in so lightly yet so intensely and so lovingly following the will of God, walking with God’s Truth, a Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the Son, the Daughter of the Father… because of all that she also saw, in contrast, ever so clearly, all the sin of all mankind in all of its horror vomited upon her Son as He was shred to death, tortured to death in front of her. Whereas even a smidgeon of understanding of what even what one of our slightest sins actually was before the holiness of God would crush us to death because of the weight of the glory of God’s justice overwhelming us, so weak are we after original sin, Mary was able to stand in solidarity with her Son in His trials. She suffered more than all put together. Look you who pass by the way and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow!
Well, there is a sorrow like her sorrow, that of Jesus in the agony of the garden, where the will of His human nature was in dichotomy from the will of His Father, not because He was a wimp and didn’t want to suffer the death we deserve for original sin and our own rubbish sin and so, standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, would have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us… He was constrained until He could enthusiastically suffer the baptism for which He came, in His own blood. And there He was, sweating a baptism of His own blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. He didn’t want to His Immaculate Mother suffered the greatest suffering of seeing Him tortured to death in front of her, thus seeing clearly all the sins of all mankind from Adam until the last man is conceived, even seeing that such a redemption wrought by her Son also brought that immaculate conception to her. She was redeemed but not saved. Get that? Now then…
Sin brought death into the world. Jesus died, totally innocent. Just because she died doesn’t mean she was a sinner and died because of that. Why did Jesus die? From the crucifixion? Sure, I guess. Kind of. Not really. He would have, if you left Him there long enough, He insisting to stay on the Cross for us. But it was a surprise that He only lasted three hours. He died because of the massive heart attack which would have accompanied the sweating of blood, the stress of His love for His mother, not wanting her to witness His suffering. That heart attack, it is said, literally breaks the pericardium, the outer part of the heart, which would have filled with blood, that blood then separating into blood and “water” overnight, quite un-survivable, and He would have died more of that than the scourging and crucifixion so quickly as he did.
Meanwhile, back to Mary. I contend it is because of her Immaculate Conception and the subsequent suffering under the Cross which that brought to her (see argumentation above) that she also suffered the same kind of massive heart attack, her pericardium breaking, but she appropriately surviving until at least Pentecost. That she would die even though not part of any consequence of original sin is most appropriate in her solidarity with her dear, dear Son. But then it would be time for her to go be on her way to heaven, in all justice. And God is just.
That she would have to be assumed into heaven regardless of any death (recall the “being changed in the twinkling of an eye mentioned by Saint Paul for souls at the end of time) is obviated simply by the fact of her immaculate conception: It’s God’s justice. Can she who is the Ark of the Covenant Incarnate not join her Son in Heaven? Impossible. Can she rot in the tomb, she who is the mother of the Author of Life, while He goes to Heaven leaving her behind? That’s impossibly unjust. But God is just. If Jesus, who is without sin, cannot rot in the tomb, neither can she, who is without sin, rot in the tomb. It’s not right. It’s impossible in justice to leave her dead, she who is the mother of the Author of Life. But God is just.
So, there it is. I’m typing too fast. I fear carpal tunnel syndrome. I’m sure I missed plenty. And I feel badly about that. I’m inept. Did I miss anything? I guess it comes down to Jesus’ love for His mother. I mean, for myself, if I were Jesus[!], and I ascended into heaven soul and body, and there was Mary, her own body rotting in the grave but me all good to go, I would feel really awkward. And I know that ♬ feelings ♬ are no way to do theology or biblical studies, but the logic of God’s justice is absolutely inescapable. Don’t underestimate Jesus’ love for His mother. Jesus loves His immaculate mother.
It’s because she is immaculate and cannot be put down by sin that she must live even if she dies momentarily as did Jesus. She must bodily rise immediately as did Jesus. Satan did not win over her or over Him. And she had to go to heaven body and soul as He ascended body and soul because that’s the fulfillment of the redemption though not salvation she received. The logic is absolute. To put it more strongly: to deny her entrance to heaven would be a sin on Jesus’ part. That ain’t gonna happen.
Just as Jesus said that if we love Him we should be happy that He is going to the Father in speaking of His ascension, you know, because He successfully obeyed the Father, suffering so very much for us, just so if we love Him, who loves His mother, she who also did the will of the Father and who also suffered so much for us… we should be happy that Jesus’ mother is assumed soul and body into heaven. It’s a family thing. And we long to join the two of them.
I’ll just stop here and press publish. Again, sorry for spelling mistakes and run-on sentences. I’m typing waaaay too fast.
5 responses to “Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (random thoughts on Mary’s Assumption, ed.)”
“GENESIS 3:15 — I wrote a thesis on this. I wish people would read it.”
Father, if the thesis you are referring to is that which you give us a link to from time to time (that link copied below), then I have read it more than once – the English words, that is, because I have to skip the others – but cannot grasp the whole from the little bits I can make out.https://ariseletusbegoing.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/genesis-thesis-george-david-byers.pdf
I am sure others like me (ordinary laity) would be very pleased to read it if able to but we do not have your education and brilliant mind. I appreciate you don’t have much free time available and therefore might never be able to write a popular version, but that doesn’t stop me from hoping (and praying) that you will somehow.
By the way, your random thoughts above on Our Lady’s Assumption, although done quickly, couldn’t be better … it’s like you have just given us a mini-retreat.
I both read and listened to your talk on your thesis. I was quite edified, thank you!
I must be doing much better today, because I was able to patiently read today’s wall of text.
Thanks be to God for you, Father.
What I think is missing, is the problem in arranging the various pieces of evidence being presented, here, in a manner and order which builds into the logical proof to which you would have your readers arrive.
Father, you may be employing that most fearful weapon; irony. having to be both stubborn and entrenched in order to speak of “purity of heart, agility of soul, clarity of vision, profundity of understanding,”
This is a subject that has been discussed several times in Bible studies, off-the-cuff conversations and talks about meditation. While I do not have the benefit if theological studies, I just look at this wonder with the eyes of a humble believer.
There is a commandment (the fourth) ‘Honor thy Father and Mother.” Since this is a direction from God Himself, surely Jesus, being the second person of the Trinity would obey His own rule. So… Mary gets honored and is brought straight to Heaven. All the rest is superfluous. Jesus loves Him mom. He honors her. He wants her with Him. Jesus is a good son in both his human and divine natures.
I really love the fourth Glorious mystery of the rosary. I just try to imagine their joyful reunion. Just imagining the beauty of heaven, their happiness at being together again – never to be parted or to see each other suffer in any way. Their love, hugs, embraces, kisses. WOW!!!!!!
Thanks for sharing this with us – it made a gloomy rainy day bright.