The death and Assumption of Mary
Many things that have to do with the Blessed Virgin Mary are controversial to many of our none Catholic brothers and sisters, even some very few Catholics get confused some times. The Catholic Church is not guided by the spirit of confusion but by the Spirit of truth, that was the promise Christ made and he fulfilled it: But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning (Jn. 15:26-27).
The apostles, upon whose faith the Church is built were taught and guided by this Counselor, the Holy Spirit. Standing on this teaching authority therefore, the Church in her first Council at Jerusalem authoritatively wrote a letter to the Gentile believers, informing them what the Church and the Holy Spirit have decided: For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastely. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell (Acts 15:28-29). This was not the spirit of confusion and the Church can never be guided by this spirit; the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church (Mt. 16:18).
It is the same Holy Spirit that has been with the Church that is still with the Church. The same Holy Spirit working in the Church inspired the proclamation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a dogma of faith. It was on November 1, 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in these words: Wherefore, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God Who has lavished His special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and 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.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary may not be biblical, but it is an inspired truth just as the whole bible is inspired by the same Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the first Council of the Church at Jerusalem to decide on what to tell the Gentiles, also inspired the same Church on the dogma of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit is till with the Church despite our human weaknesses, and he will continue to glorify his name in the Church.
The none Catholics and even some few Catholics raise questions about this dogma. One of the major question they raise is, did Mary die before the Assumption? This is a very important question that must not be ignored, did Mary die before the Assumption?
Some people try to answer this question by saying that the Pope left that aspect open in his proclamation, that he was silent about the death of Mary. But in his pronouncement, the Pope said that Mary after completing the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and Soul into heaven. I ask, what does it mean to complete once earthly course? To die. The Pope may not have used the word death, but that completion of earthly course implies death. Mary died.
Mary’s death is not recorded in the bible but the truthfulness of it was preserved in the feast of the Dormition of the mother of God. The Dormition is a feast that was celebrated since the 4th century by the eastern Orthodox Christians and Catholics, Dormition simply means to “fall-asleep” in death. It was a feast that celebrates the death and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church today may not use the word Domition, but the feast of the Assumption celebrates also the Dormition; the death of Mary.
Her death does not in any way change anything at all. The dogma of the Assumption remains what the Church says it is, just as the death of Jesus did not make him less God. Even if you argue that she did not die, it does not change the Church’s teaching on the Assumption neither can your rejection of the Assumption change the teaching. We are very proud of the teachings of the Catholic Church and we thank God for the continuous revelation of the truth.