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Association of the Miraculous Medal
What is the meaning of the doctrine of the Assumption?

11. What is the meaning of the doctrine of the Assumption? With regard to Mary's assumption:

The official doctrine of the Church does not decide the issue of whether Mary died or not. Most theologians today seem to feel that she died, as her Son Jesus did. The Church does teach that, by the Assumption, Mary shares bodily in the resurrection and experiences complete union with Jesus. I understand the doctrine to mean that Jesus caused her physical body, after death, to be transformed into the spiritual body we will all have in heaven (see 1 Cor. 15:42-44). Our physical body is subject to corruption, whereas Mary's physical body was not subject to corruption. Why? Because Mary's body was the "ark" which bore the body of Jesus for nine months. Because Mary was Jesus' Mother, and as such, would have been welcomed into heaven by her Son with all the grace and power Jesus could have shared with his beloved Mother. (Would we do any less for our own mother if we were in Jesus' place?)

Another way of looking at the Assumption is to compare it with the phenomenon described in 1 Thess. 4:16-17. Some teachers and theologians describe Mary's Assumption in these very terms. They say that Mary has already experienced fully what we will experience fully only at the end of time.

The Assumption seems to have been taken for granted by Catholics as far back as the historical records go. We Catholics believe that our doctrines must be in harmony with the Bible, but not necessarily expressed explicitly in the Bible. We believe that the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, can come to the knowledge of truths that are related to our spiritual benefit. The Assumption is one of these truths.