Too Many Assumptions About the Assumption

We remember Mary, the mother of Jesus, in a special way today. While our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers celebrate this as the feast of the Assumption (Mary’s body and soul being “assumed” into heaven) and the Orthodox are more likely to observe Mary’s “falling asleep,” we simply call this day the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin.

It joins several other Marian celebrations in our calendar – the Annunciation by the angel to Mary, the Visitiation of Mary to Elizabeth, and the “Purification” of Mary after Jesus’ birth and his Presentation in the Temple. And surely it appropriate to remember with joy the one who bore our Savior into this world! There is even an interfaith component here: Jews can honor her as “Miriam,” a strong and faithful Jewish mother; and Muslims do treat her with respect in the Qur’an.

I believe that all Christians  can honor her without embracing all the accretions into the tradition over the years, the overly dogmatic pronouncements by the Roman church, or the rather convoluted arguments in the latest Anglican -Roman Catholic International Commission’s publication, “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ” about her proleptically experiencing — in her “immaculate conception” and “assumption” — all that Christians now receive by virtue of our baptism.

Is it not enough to sing with her “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:48b-49)? And to pray: “O God, you have taken to yourself the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord…”

It is for me.     

4 Responses to “Too Many Assumptions About the Assumption”

  1. Linda McMillan Says:

    Yes… that would be enough. But, with so many stories surrounding her why would we stop there? If I wanted to live in a myth-less world I could just be a protestant.


  2. ecubishop Says:

    Not quite sure I understand what you mean, Lindy. We all live with — and depend upon — “myths.” And by that I mean timeless, larger-than-life stories which are “true” without necessarly being “historical.” Protestants have them, Catholics have them, Jews and Muslims and Buddhists have them. The question is, how lightly or tightly we hold such myths. Must I be required to embrace your myths to be a “real church?” Or can we agree to a basic set of essentials — i.e. as contained in the catholic creeds — and cut each other some slack on other non-essentials?

  3. Linda McMillan Says:

    No one HAS to.
    But, they are there. And, I think, too rich to ignore.

    On the other hand, I am not really too interested in a basic set of essentials. I got mine a long time ago and they really are quite basic. My faith offers too much richness, too much wonder, for me to let it be reduced to something basic and understood just for the sake of agreeing.

    If you agree with me, that’s good.
    If you don’t, that’s good too.
    But, let’s not deny the goodness of the things we don’t all hold to just because someone might not agree.


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