Sunday, October 15, 2017

Looking back to August 15. . .

Just in case you were thinking I had missed the Assumption of Mary, August 15 (which we Lutherans more typically celebrate as a commemoration of Mary, Mother of Our Lord, or even Mary's Dormition -- with the East -- or falling asleep day), I did not.  Sometime later, however, I came across this and it begged a response:
So, the Bible, while not specifically recording Mary’s Assumption, does present other assumptions, thus showing it to be a biblical concept. Further, Mary’s physical presence in Heaven seems at least hinted at, if not directly described, in the Book of Revelation.  The Church does not rely solely on Scripture. In this case, what we celebrate is most fundamentally taught to us by Sacred Tradition; the memory of Mary’s Assumption goes back as far as we can remember.
Well, it seems we have Enoch walking with God (Gen. 5:24) and Elijah caught up in a whirlwind (1 Kings 2:11) and Moses without a grave (Deut. 34:6) and all of this adds up to a precedent and even a doctrine of bodily assumptions.  And because some folks talked as if it had taken place, and if anyone were to be assumed into heaven Mary would be the top candidate, therefore it must have taken place.  Now there is an interesting thought progression.  No wonder some Lutherans are nervous about Mary.  Talk about creative exegesis!

I still recall the poignant words of Ted Kennedy eulogizing his brother Robert. Among the many profound and eloquent words, was this: My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. . . How true are those words. How much more true when it comes to Blessed Mary, Mother of our Lord. She neither requires nor asks of us to be enlarged or idealized beyond her own life and the judgment of our Lord that she was "full of grace" and will by all nations be called "blessed." We need not create a cause or reason to bestow upon her a higher honor than the honor she holds whether we give it or not. She consented to the Father's will and the words of the Archangel and the Lord who spoke to create all things took up residence in her womb as a baby. By this act of pure faith, guided by the Spirit, she became the mother of all the faithful -- those who trust in the Word of the Lord, who ponder upon that Word in faith, and whose glory is, above all, to have known the unmerited favor of God. She quite joyfully acclaimed this God in flesh her Lord and Savior and her greatest glory is to join in this faith and confession. To try and do more only detracts from the greater glory God has shown her and the grace He made known to her.


Anonymous said...

God's Word says Moses died and his body was buried. That needs to be stated clearly. There was no assumption of Moses' body into heaven.

RomGabe said...

Eastern orthodox also have a tradition of bodily assumption of the Theotokos.

Carl Vehse said...

The excerpt comes from the August 14, 2017, Community in Mission article, "The Biblical Roots of the Assumption of Mary," by Msgr. Charles Pope, currently a dean and pastor in the Roman Archdiocese of Washington, DC,

Rev. Peters: "Talk about creative exegesis!"

Another appropriate description of the except is "Romish hog wallow."

Also, it is sad and inappropriate when the words of one lying adulterer and murderer talking about another serial adulterer of an infamous crime family are described as "poignant," "profound," or "eloquent."

Surely there are quotes of more respectable people to associate with the Theotokos.

Anonymous said...

In 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of Mary

In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary

The Roman Catholic Church has no Scriptural proof for either of these
Papal Decrees. That makes no difference they can manufacture doctrine
in any century they choose.

William Tighe said...

What did Martin Luther think of "the Immaculate Conception of Mary" and "the Assumption of Mary," Anonymous?

Unknown said...

Good grief, Fr. I wonder if you ever speak well of your father or mother or any deceased love one. They probably sure don't need it, but you do it anyway. How dare you. The Mother of God is also our mother as well as an icon of the saved, i.e. us. Her falling asleep and then being brought into heaven is exactly what will happen to us regardless of whether we are in the earth for 1000 years, 1000 days or just the past five minutes. It is a festival worth celebrating and she is definitely a woman worth honoring. She LITERALLY carried God. And to you that's some affectation?

Carl Vehse said...

Regarding Martin Luther's views on the immaculate conception of Mary, the answer was presented in a couple of December 23, 2009, comments on Pastoral Meanderings here and here. The bottom line in those comments: "So, at best, one might find 'mentions' of Mary's immaculate conception Romanist fairy tale by Luther from early days. But after 1529, there is no solid indication of Luther holding such a view, especially at the end of his life."