Mary

Assumption of the VirginNice article from LifeTeen:

About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, “Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it’s not even in the Bible?”

He said “you Catholics” because he went to a local Bible Church but had been coming to a Life Teen Summer Bible Study with some of his Catholic friends.

“Well, first . . . ” I replied, “Mary did not ascend into heaven; the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. Jesus ascended by His own power. Mary was taken up into heaven by God.” That little difference is a big difference, so I wanted to be sure he understood it.

Billy then replied, “Okay, fine . . . but it’s still not in the Bible. The Church made it up.”

This is where the conversation got really interesting.

DID MARY DIE?

Maybe Mary didn’t die. Maybe she’s living in Brazil . . . next door to Elvis. Some people point to the fact that only Elijah and Enoch are mentioned as being carried off to heaven in Scripture, and since Mary is not, then “it must not be true.”

Have you ever noticed that although the Acts of the Apostles is an incredibly detailed accurate account of Sts. Peter and Paul, we do not read of their deaths on the pages of Scripture? Everything we know of their deaths comes from early oral tradition. In fact, the Bible doesn’t say what happened to most of the disciples. The Bible is silent in this area. Many Evangelicals accept the witness of Church history that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome, that Paul was beheaded, etc. — even though Scripture does not record these events.

We know, from oral tradition, that Mary was taken into the care of St. John (the writer of the fourth gospel and the Book of Revelation) and went to live with him in Ephesus (where he was a Bishop). We know that she was sought out for her counsel and wisdom and that she was exalted and honored throughout the community. Early Church Tradition upholds these facts as true, as do historic and non-canonical writings.

What is different, though, is that we know where the bones of Sts. Peter and Paul and other disciples like Mary Magdalene are because the early Christians took care of them. There is no record of where the bones of Mary are. It seems a little odd that if there had been a body no one would have given her a proper burial or that her tomb would not have become a landmark, does it not?

HOW DO WE KNOW MARY IS IN HEAVEN?

Well, if the woman who God specifically chose to bring His Son into the world and raise Him is not in heaven . . . none of us have a shot.

Seriously, though, is there Scriptural backing for this teaching about the Assumption? Absolutely!

While it does not explicitly state, “Mary assumed into heaven” in the Bible, stop and take a look at the verses from Revelation, written by John, of visions that were seen:

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod… Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed . . .” – Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10

This revelation is referring to Mary in heaven. Mary is often referred to as the new “Ark of the Covenant.”

Indiana Jones went searching for the Ark of the Old Covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Law), a pot of manna (heavenly bread) and the staff of Aaron (symbol of Priesthood). You can read about the Ark – but not Indiana Jones – in Hebrews 9:4. The Ark was kept free from all defect and corruption, made from the finest most pure materials to God’s exact specifications.

As the Ark of the New Covenant, Mary carried Christ who is the Law, the Bread of Life, and the Royal High Priest. Her Immaculate Conception and her state as ever-Virgin kept her free from defect and sin, preserving her throughout her life, until her death where she was immediately assumed to preserve her from any bodily corruption on earth. Notice, too, in this passage from Revelation that we see the Ark (which is missing on earth) in heaven immediately preceding our vision of this woman crowned in stars and holding a baby.

Don’t forget – to whom did God give this vision (Revelation)? He imparted it to St. John, the one who was entrusted with caring for Our Mother, Mary (John 19:25-27) for the remainder of her days on earth prior to her assumption.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the universal Church. The teaching was not new – only now formally clarified. He affirmed that at the end of her time on earth, Mary experienced immediately the resurrection of the body that is promised to all faithful followers of Jesus.

Basically, since Mary was preserved from original sin by the unique gift of Christ’s grace, she was able to experience the immediate perfect union with her Son in heaven, never knowing, tasting or suffering from bodily corruption or decay (due to death) in any way.

Remember, as Christians we believe in the Resurrection of the Body. As the Papal encyclical Lumen Gentium (68) asserts, Mary’s assumption and heavenly presence preceded and foreshadows our own future glory (1 Corinthians 15). You might want to check out how the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it, too (CCC 966).

One of the things that sets us apart as Catholics from Christian denominations is that we have a rich understanding of Mary and a tradition of giving her the honor she deserves. She can teach us a lot through her example of virtue and her special role within the Church. Pray with Mary and she will lead you into a far deeper relationship with Her Son than you could ever achieve by your own direction.

I’m reminded of that conversation with the teen every year around this Feast Day, only I no longer call that teen, Billy, my friend . . . now I also call him, Father Bill. He went looking for Mary and found her . . . in the Catholic Church.

Hail Mary!

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The Spiritual Rosary Pilgrimage of Our Lord and Lady is underway but it is not too late to jump in the caravan and join the pilgrimage.

My contribution was the meditation of the 2nd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, the Visitation. You can listen/watch my segment below, just click on the image.

To join this pilgrimage with almost 50,000 others click HERE. I would suggest you not miss as well-known speakers each take a different Mystery for meditation and to lead this world-wide pilgrimage of prayer.

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downloadThe scientific word is “microchimerism”. It is the transfer of cells from the baby’s body into the mother’s body and the transfer of cells of the mother’s body in the baby’s body. These cells of the baby remain in the mothers’ body after birth. Very interesting indeed when considering the relationship between Jesus and his mother Mary.

The microchimerism website says,

“Microchimerism is the harboring of small numbers of cells that originated in a genetically different individual.

  • During pregnancy some cells traffic from the mother to the fetus and from the fetus to the mother.
  • Surprisingly, a small number of the mother’s cells persist in her offspring, including into adult life.
  • And a small number of cells from prior pregnancies persist in mothers many years later.

It has only recently become apparent that naturally-acquired microchimerism is common in humans.” (http://www.microchimerism.org)

The new scientific discovery of microchimerism informs us that some of the cells of the God-Man Jesus remained in the body of Mary. At his gestation and after his birth, Jesus left microscopic bits of his own divine cellular being inside his mother. Was Mary then a tabernacle of the Divine? Yes, not only during the pregnancy but also forever after.

Smithsonian Magazine informs us, “This cellular invasion means that mothers carry unique genetic material from their children’s bodies, creating what biologists call a microchimera, named after the legendary beasts made of different animals. The phenomenon is widespread among mammals, and scientists have proposed a number of theories for how it affects the mother, from better wound healing to higher risk of cancer.”

download (1)We speak of Mary being the Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark of the Old Covenant in the Old Testament contained 1) the Word of God inscribed on stone, 2) an urn of manna, and 3) Aaron the High Priest’s rod that budded (Heb 9:4).

Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant and in her womb was 1) the Word of God inscribed on flesh, 2) the real bread which came down from heaven, and 3) the real and ultimate, eternal High Priest.

But science now informs us that Mary was the Ark of the Covenant that carried God Himself not only for nine months but for the remainder of her existence. Mary was — and indeed still is — the Ark of the New Covenant and the repository of the Divine.

What other woman has this relationship with God in the flesh? She is the beloved daughter of the Father, the chosen mother of the Son, and the chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit. What other woman has such a relationship with the Trinity?

And now that science has discovered microchimerism, we realize now that May is perpetually the tabernacle of the Divine. As a Protestant, I thought Mary was non-essential and not important. Catholics made too big a deal of Mary. Boy, was I wrong. I love being a Catholic!

For more info, check out an Elizabeth Scalia article, and Wikipedia.

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Mary, Assumed into Heaven as the Queen

August 15, 2020

A while ago a man called in to say my argument for the Assumption of Mary including references from the Old Testament was wrong. I had quoted 1 Kings 2:19 where Solomon had raised his mother up to a throne on his right hand to reign as Queen of the Kingdom. The man arguing with me […]

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How Can Mary Be Sinless if She Rejoices in “God my Savior”?

August 14, 2020

A deacon wrote a question the other day about the sinlessness of Mary. Here is his question and my simple response in two parts. “Hello Steve!  I received a question this morning from a very wise and astute co-worker regarding our Blessed Mother. He is NOT Catholic. He asked, “Well!!  If the Blessed Virgin Mary was […]

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Feast Day of Joachim & Anna: Nativity and Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

July 26, 2020

July 27 is the Feast Day of Mary’s parents Sts. Joachim and Anna. Their story is not told in the Bible, but in a 2nd-century document entitled The Protoevangelium of James. In this document we read of the birth and presentation of Mary and her childhood through her marriage to Joseph and the birth of Jesus. This […]

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For Filipinos and All: Steve Ray Live Discussion of Mary, Saints & Statues

July 9, 2020

Here is the video on “Mary, the Saints & Statues.” Many sects and cults, denominations and heretical groups are enticing Catholics in the Philippines to leave the Catholic Church due to misleading and seductive accusations about Marian veneration, the Communion of Saints and statues. I will address these issues on a live Facebook event Sunday, […]

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Meaning of Sacred and Immaculate Hearts – Feast Days are Upon Us!

June 18, 2020

Friday, June 19 is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saturday, June 20 is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A non-Christian friend found two paintings at an art show and asked me, “What in the world are these? They seem to have pagan elements. What do they have to do […]

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“The Life & Truth about Mary” My Interview on Reason & Theology

June 16, 2020

We discussed the whole life of Mary especially the end of her life. It is very a lively and fast-paced interview. Hope you enjoy it!

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Mary and the Trinity

June 7, 2020
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Parents Looking for Good Books for their Kids – Here is a Great One on Mary!

May 12, 2020

Mary is quite contrary to many Christians but we Catholics love and venerate her. Do our children know why? What is the best way to introduce our families to Marian apparitions and how she reveals herself to different peoples and cultures. This new and very beautiful book is entitled “Our Lady’s Wardrobe.” In a very […]

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Was Jesus Clothed or Naked at the Crucifixion?

April 7, 2020

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “Was Jesus Crucified Naked?” It generated a lot of comments, some very critical. A very kind person wrote to me today about that article saying they was uncomfortable with the idea that Mary was looking up at unclothed men on crosses. THEY WROTE: It was my […]

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Did Solomon’s Mother Bathsheba Demonstrate Mary is NOT a Good Intercessor?

March 26, 2020

I put up a post a few days ago with a video of my talk in Ephesus about Mary being Queen of Heaven and an Intercessor for the people of God’s kingdom. Someone wrote to object saying, It is interesting Steve, as to what you left out in your reference to 1 Kings 2:19 , Solomon’s Mother […]

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My Response: Defending the Assumption & Queenship of Mary

February 16, 2020

Reposting a blog on Assumption I wrote ten years ago. Link to my long defense is here. The Assumption of Mary always ruffles the feathers of anti-Catholics. I understand why. I used to be in their camp — I joined them in lockstep chanting the same slogans and mantras against “Catholic Tradition” and “man-made dogmas.” But […]

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Mary, Mother of God’s Early & Later Life – The Real Mary

January 1, 2020

Questions I answered about Mary’s real life on Catholic Answers Live — it was a FUN show! To listen on-line, for podcasts and other listening options, click here.  (Photos: Top photo painted by James Tissot; bottom two pictures are actual photos of girls at the well in Nazareth over 100 years ago.) 1. Did Mary […]

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Aztecs, Human Sacrifice, Abortion and Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12, 2019

Today we visited the Aztec Temple in Mexico City. The cathedral of Mexico City was built right next to the 500-year temple. I did a lot of study on the Aztecs and their massive human sacrifices and cannibalism. I realized there was a great tie-in with the Catholic faith, the sacrifice of Christ and abortion […]

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