The approach of a Marian Solemnity is also a time when objections to Marian dogmas from fundamentalists come back front of mind. From objectors both the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are at worst repudiated for lack of explicit scriptural references and at best, doubted simply because they seem very speculative.
We should be reminded that the Church’s honour of Mary, however, takes nothing away from Christ but actually confirms what we already believe out of the core of our faith. After all, we believe that Jesus saves us from our sins, and we believe in the resurrection of the dead to have life in communion with God in the next.
The Immaculate Conception is Mary being saved from her sins from the time of her conception, so as to make her a perfect vessel for her Son. The Assumption is the resurrection of the dead immediately from the end of Mary’s earthly life. Early Christian writings write of the dormition of Mary and that in her tomb were found fragrant flowers where her body should have been. It is assumed that just as her freedom from sin came early, so did her bodily resurrection.
The Immaculate Conception and the Assumption go hand in hand. We are enthralled by stories of the incorruptible bodies of some of the most holy and revered saints. Mary, free from sin is also free from bodily corruption. Why would the Lord wait a second to bring her up to Heaven?
The Assumption celebrates the triumph of life over death in the resurrection of Christ, the unity of the Holy Family, of God’s mercy being active in the life of Mary and our own, and a prefigurement of our own resurrection and life in the world to come. Happy Solemnity!