Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary (with some modern science commentary)

Adam and Eve with the Virgin Mary (detail), Correggio, Assumption of the Virgin
via Khan Academy
On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption. Thus he solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the close of her earthly life, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, definitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the Apostles. To avoid all that is uncertain the Pope did not state either the manner or the circumstances of time and place in which the Assumption took place — only the fact of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, is the matter of the definition.
Catholic Culture, where there is a lot more info
Each year on the Assumption of Mary I like to revisit this from The Anchoress. Because it blows my mind. And the Assumption is a good time for mind-blowing. This was originally posted this at Patheos where the original post link no longer works, sez:
When studying Anatomy and Physiology in college, the lesson that briefly discussed fetomaternal microchimerism, became instructive to me on a different level. Learning that every child leaves within his mother a microscopic bit of himself — and that it remains within her forever — the dogma of the Immaculate Conception instantly became both crystal clear and brilliant to me.

Mary, then, was indeed a tabernacle within which the Divinity did reside — not for a limited time, but for all of her life. Understanding this (and considering how the churches seemed to get it ‘way before microscopes told us anything) the Immaculate Conception made and makes perfect sense: God, who is All-Good is also completely Pure; the vessel in which He resides, then, must be pure, too, or it would not be able to sustain all of that “light in which we see light itself.”

Microchimerism also relates to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, as well. In the psalms we read “you will not suffer your beloved to undergo corruption.” Christ’s divine body did not undergo corruption. It follows that his mother’s body, which contained a cellular component of the Divinity — and a particle of God is God, entire — would not be allowed to become corrupt, either.
I believed it anyway, but that made sense on several levels. Incredible.

Assumption of the Virgin, Correggio
where the above detail is included
Click through to the link to look at it enlarged.


  1. That is really quite lovely. I've been getting all science-y lately and this just dovetails it all perfectly.
    Thank you for always opening my eyes to something new, different, wonderful, and unexpected.

  2. I feel exactly the same way ... and am happy I could pass that on to you also. :-)

  3. Wowzer, now here is a factoid I was totally unaware of. I love being Catholic. Everything gets 'splained in its own good time. Wowzer....did I say that yet?

  4. P.S. as these guys said so well, Sweet Mother of God and they weren't (still aren't) even Catholic

  5. I so terribly needed this today. What a great gift from God our Blessed Mother is to us all.

  6. Very compelling: it's always helpful to have something concrete to help in understanding a mystery.

  7. I don't really understand all this scientific stuff. I just know that the whole thing makes perfect sense. There had to be an Immaculate Conception in order for Jesus to come into the world. He couldn't be born of a sinful person. And since the wages of sin is death and Mary was without sin it's perfectly logical that she really didn't have to die. She just falls asleep and is assumed body and soul to heaven.

  8. I'll second Owen's wowzer! I did not know! But of course it is all perfectly logical. Thank you!