Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Assuming too much?

I can understand why Mary the mother of Jesus has such a special place in the devotions of many Christians. I'm happy to refer to her as Saint Mary or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today, 15 August, the festival of 'The Blessed Virgin Mary' for Anglicans, it seems right to thank God for Mary and meditate on her life.

Where I have immense difficulty, is in understanding some of what is taught about her by, for example, the Roman Catholic church.

For Roman Catholics, today is the 'Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary'. As far as I can make, out the dogma relating to this is that
"...the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe..."  
(2nd Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium Chapter VIII 59)
Well, I'm sorry, but I think that is assuming too much.
What do you think?

Photo: my own, detail of a mural in Church of the Visitation, Ein Karem, near Jerusalem, Israel.


6 comments:

  1. Mmm...yes, a step too far. It really does give me a fit of the queasies, I'm afraid.

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    1. It doesn't give me 'a fit of the queasies'. I simply can't relate to it. The idea of Mary's assumption into heaven seems to be based on an ancient (but not Biblical) tradition that when the tomb said to be Mary's was opened a long time after her death it was found to contain no body, only lilies. As for 'Queen of Heaven', I understand heaven to be the state of being in which God alone reigns supreme.

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  2. Catholic zeal in its most extreme form I think.

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    1. Ray - I sometimes wonder if some of the more extreme Mariology arises from a concept of God as 'male' and a need to relate to a 'female' deity, a mother rather than a father figure. My inverted commas are there because God is neither male nor female. Roman Catholics will be quick to point out that they don't worship or pray to Mary, but hold her in high honour and may request her to pray for them.

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  3. The Virgin, Mary was to hold Jesus who all Christians believe is God. Do you think that God would come and be formed and born into a sinful soul and body? Mary was the first Christian to be Resurrected by Christ. The sign of the future of all Christians who believe and are faithful. Jesus resurrected Himself as God. Mary was assumed into Heaven BY God's power and grace. She is the new EVE. Where Jesus is the new ADAM. And we are the offspring of that salvation. God bless. JMJ<><

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment Anonymous. I believe Jesus to be both fully God and fully human. To me one of the wonderful aspects of the incarnation is that God entered our human life in all its messiness. He came where we are. He comes where we are. To me only Jesus can be said to be 'without sin'. I think that the Virgin Mary was special and 'blessed; because she was chosen by God to bear and nurture the Christ child. She gives a beautiful example of a woman open to God. I do not see any Biblical evidence of Mary being 'assumed into heaven'. I get the point about Mary as 'the new Eve'. God bless.

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