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The Assumption of Mary - What it Means and Why it Matters?

The Assumption of Mary - What it Means and Why it Matters?

All around the world Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, however, you might be wondering what that actually means, and for good reason! To be clear, it has nothing to do with making assumptions. In fact, Mary’s Assumption is a highly theological concept that isn’t typically covered at length in Sunday school. Let’s take a moment to unpack some of that lofty theology.

As Catholics, we believe that when a person dies, their soul is separated from their body. The soul is taken up into purgatory or Heaven (or, God forbid, Hell), and the person’s body decays over time. However, we know that this is not the end for us, because Christ defeated death.

In the Nicene Creed which we recite each Sunday at Mass, we proclaim that we “look forward to the resurrection of the body”. This means that at the end of time, all the souls in Heaven will be reunited with their bodies and enter into a glorified bodily state for all eternity.

What does our death have to do with the Assumption of Mary?

The Assumption of Mary explains that at the end of her life, Mary’s body did not experience the bodily decay that we normally associate with death. Rather, at the time of her death, Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, 1950).

This is an incredible gift from God! God gave her the glorified body and the fullness of salvation that we expect to receive only at the resurrection at the end of time.

But why does this matter to us? Is it really all that important?

Yes! The Assumption of Mary gives us a glimpse into our own future life in heaven. It is a sign of hope, awe, and wonder: it gives us hope for our own future resurrection, fills us with awe at Christ’s immense power over death, and causes us to wonder what heavenly life will be like for us.

Not only that, but the Assumption of Mary gives us an important insight into our current earthly life, too. It shows us that our bodies are essential to who we are as humans - we aren’t just souls walking around waiting to go to heaven. Our bodies matter! They matter so much, in fact, that God sent his only Son to save us from bodily death.       

If God cares so much for our bodies, then so should we. By caring for our own health and well-being, we are doing our part to care for this “temple of the Holy Spirit” that God has gifted us.

As followers of Jesus, we are likewise called to care for the health and well-being of each other, especially the poor. Everybody is a temple of the Holy Spirit, not just our own.

The crisis of hunger and malnutrition ravaging so many parts of the world is an especially heinous evil against the health and well-being of the human body, and the body of Christ. It’s vital for us as Catholics to do our part in helping our brothers and sisters in the crisis of hunger. If you would like to learn more about how you can bring relief to suffering “temples of the Holy Spirit” around the world, click here.


Vic Russak is an Albany, NY based content writer specializing in food, nutrition, and Catholic faith topics. Learn more about his work here.