Today we celebrate the Assumption, one of the greatest events of the Liturgical Year. The name of this feast comes from a Latin word meaning “taken up” because it is the celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary being taken body and soul into heaven! Church Tradition teaches that Mary was given this wonderful honor because she was free from sin her whole life and was therefore not subject to this last consequence of sin (her body in a grave).
It’s not clear if Mary actually died and was immediately taken up to heaven or if she was taken up before death, but the official declaration covers both those bases:
By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Pope Pius XII
November 1, 1950
This heavenly birthday of Mary is a reminder of Jesus’ promise that we can all be there with Him someday!
This feast is so important that it is a Holy Day of Obligation and we are required to attend Mass. On your way to Mass, you might want to prepare your hearts by praying the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, the Assumption.
Belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a dogma. This means that it is a teaching of the Church that has been revealed by God Himself, and is one that all Catholics must hold to be the truth.
Of course, the best way to celebrate this day is by going to Mass, but we also invite you to spend time making your prayer table as beautiful as possible in honor of this celebration. A picture or statue of Mary is perfect, along with a blue (or white or gold) cloth and some fresh flowers from your garden.