Hi, Bobby —
Great to hear from you.
My question is on the Assumption of Mary.
- Was Mary assumed into Heaven after dying here on earth, or
- when her days on earth
were over, was she taken alive to Heaven?
First, if you want a solid background
for anything Catholic that's of an
Advent is a great site to check
out. It is the 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia — on-line.
Here is what they say on the Assumption:
If you go to the bottom of the New
Advent page above, a note states:
[Note: By promulgating the Bull
Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November,
Pope Pius XII declared infallibly
that the Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary was a dogma of the
Catholic Faith. Likewise, the
Second Vatican Council taught
in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
"the Immaculate Virgin,
preserved free from all stain
of original sin, was taken
up body and soul into heavenly
glory, when her earthly life
was over, and exalted by the
Lord as Queen over all things
This last quote is the extent to
what practicing Catholics have to
It is a reiteration
of what Munificentissimus Deus stated
in 1950; a belief that has been held since Apostolic Times.
That said: There are two non-doctrinal traditions, small "t" or theological opinions in
One, that our previous Holy Father,
John Paul II believed in, taught
that after the end of her earthly
life, Our Blessed Mother died, like
us, and was then assumed into Heaven
after her death.
There is another tradition, small "t" or theological opinion
that I, Greek Orthodox Christians,
and Eastern Rite Catholics subscribe
to. It holds that Our Blessed
Mother, at the end of her life fell
asleep, then was assumed into Heaven.
In Orthodox churches and
Eastern Catholic Rites, the celebration of the Assumption
of Mary is known as the
Years ago, I remember my Benedictine
oblate friend telling her version
of the tradition:
After Pentecost Sunday, the Apostles
when to all corners of the world
bringing the Gospel of Jesus to
mankind, laboring day in, and
day out. When the Apostles heard of the news that Our Blessed
Mother had passed from this life, they all
returned to where she had been living, [except
the doubting Apostle, Thomas,]
in order to give her the appropriate
funeral Mass and burial rituals
for the closing of the tomb. When
Thomas heard of the news, he returned
to where Our Blessed Mother had
been living. Although he has missed
the funeral Mass, the burial rituals,
he asked if he could just
see Our Blessed Mother one more
The Apostles rolled back the tombstone
from the tomb where our Blessed
Mother had been laid to rest and
instead of her body, they found
one Easter Lily.
Side note: The second time my
friend told me this tradition,
she said they found a
bunch of Easter Lilies.
I personally think they found one,
but again these are all issues of
theological opinion, not
issues of doctrine.
I've appended the section On
the Assumption and the Bible from
my list of Catholic Scripture
verses that defend Catholic doctrines
Our Blessed Mother's Assumption.
This Apostolic Teaching was formally declared by Pope Pius XII when he said:
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.
Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII
Commentary: The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother is something the Church has always believed, though how she was assumed is a matter of theological opinion.
- Some like the Orthodox and I believe Our Lady gently feel asleep into Eternal Life. The Orthodox celebrate this as the Dormition of Mary.
- Others, like St. John Paul II believed she died just like anyone of us would have died.
- An ancient Coptic tradition states that when Mary was old and nearing this falling asleep, Jesus appeared to 72 of the disciples. He was on the chariot of the cherubim accompanied by 1,000 Angels, and he told them
He was to take his Mother to himself. The disciples wept and asked that Mary should never die, but the Lord said her time was accomplished.
Madrid from "Where is that in the Bible" states:
Revelation 12:1-8 shows us that Mary, Ark of the New Covenant, is truly the mother
of all Christians (even those who refuse to acknowledge her as their mother).
This passage also shows us a vision of Mary, queen of Heaven, and hints at
her Assumption. This gift of suffering no corruption in the grave and being "caught
Heaven while still alive is perfectly in accordance with Scripture. Similar
assumptions are described below, and are promised to some Christians in 1
- Genesis 5:24
- Enoch walked with God, then was no more, because God took him.
- Hebrews 11:5-6
- It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not experience death: he was no more, because God took him; because before his assumption he was acknowledged to have pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who seek him.
- 2 Kings 2:11
- Elijah was assumed into heaven in a fiery chariot.
- Matthew 27:52
- Many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
- 1 Corinthians 15:52
- We shall be instantly changed at the last trumpet.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- Being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
- Revelation 11:19 — 12:1
- Ark in Heaven represents the woman clothed with the sun.
(This woman is Mary.)
A negative proof from history:
Historically to this date archaeologists have not found the bones of Mary though they did find the bones of St. Peter.
My next question is on being an Oblate.
- Is that limited to persons of the
Catholic faith or it is open to anyone?
does one become an Oblate (especially of
there are no Oblates in the area)?
Since Oblates have a connection to
a Catholic religious order, yes,
it would be limited to those of the
Catholic Faith. I'll show my bias
here because I'm a Benedictine at
heart. If someone wanted to become
a Benedictine Oblate, he or she would
find a copy of their diocesan Catholic
directory to see if there was a local
Benedictine monastery in their diocese.
They could also check out nearby
dioceses as well!
If there was a Benedictine order
in your area, you would want to visit
the monastery and ultimately make
an appointment with the Superior
of the Order to talk about the issue
and what would be required on your
part. In my area, it can consist of
a series of required daily prayers
and making periodic visits to the
monastery, but this will probably vary from order to order.
The key is the spirituality and loyalty
to the Holy See. I would far rather
be a Dominican Oblate associated
with a religious order that is loyal
to the teachings of the Church, than
be an Oblate of a Benedictine order
whose members are allowed to dissent
from the Magisterium of the Church.
Hope this helps,