Sunday August 10th. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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St. Margaret's,                        St. Joseph's,                        St. Finnan's

Assumption of Mary into heaven

Friday, August 15th, Holyday of Obligation

Masses:  Roy Bridge 10 a.m.  Spean Bridge 7.30 p.m

One of the memories about his  mother centred around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion,  where the early Christian community had lived. On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she she had died, and the tomb where she was buried. The memory of Mary was being celebrated as early as this, and later it was to become the feast of the Assumption.

For a time, Mary's  memory was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormition") of the Mother of God. Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up body and soul into heaven. This belief dated back to the apostles themselves.

What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Assumption of Mary stands on the spot. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, the Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capital. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles. When her tomb was opened later, it was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."

 In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . In truth, you were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen of heaven and Mother of God”

 All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later on January 1, the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception, December 8, marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being was filled with divine life from the very beginning, preparing her for the exulted role of mother of our Saviour.

The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption.

The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our own earthly life is over.

On November 11, 1950, Pius XII defined the doctrine of the Assumption, which stated that, because Mary was sinless, she did not suffer the corruption of the grave, but was taken body and soul into heaven.

It was the universal will of the people that encouraged Pope Pius XII to proclaim this truth, which was believed by everyone since the early days of the Church. So it was nothing new, but rather and opportunity to define a generally accepted truth. For 200 years after the crucifixion, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city of Jerusalem, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples. After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord started to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem.