Assumption vs: Ascension
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Luke 1:46-47
Every year the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us in paragraph 966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." In the Orthodox Church it’s called The Feast of the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. The Feast commemorates the repose (dormition and in the Greek kimisis) or "falling-asleep" of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.
Our Lady’s whole life was centered on doing the Will of God. His Will was central in all she did. Look at how she responded to God, through the Angel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
As a result of whom she is and how she lived her life, God chose to take her up to heaven, body and soul. Whether she “fell asleep” and was taken up to heaven, as the Orthodox teach, or was just taken up to heaven as we so often see depicted in artwork, surrounded by angels, on a cloud, she was taken up to heaven by the power of God. Not by her own power. Further, we as Catholics are required to believe this. In 1854, with the Bull Ineffabilis, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. As a dogma, we, as Catholics are required to believe and accept it.
Regarding the Ascension of Our Lord, this occurred 40 days after He rose from the dead on Easter, and is the final act of our redemption that Christ began on Good Friday. On this day, the risen Christ, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven (Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11). It was through His own power that He ascended into heaven. This is another central belief that we have as Catholics.
So, as you see, the difference between the Assumption of Our Lady and the Ascension of Our Lord is this: it was through the power of God that Mary was assumed into heaven, and it was through His own power that Jesus ascended into heaven.
Let us, like Mary, have God always in the center of all we do in our lives. Let us, like Mary, say, “Behold, I am the handmaid (servant) of the Lord.”
Deacon Tom Tortorella is a guest blogger on FatherRosado.com. He is a permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of New York and is currently assigned to St. Clare of Assisi Church in the Bronx, NY. He was ordained by His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan on June 19th, 2010.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.