APOLOGETICS
Copyrightę 2000 by "morphogenesis"



Mary's Dormition and Assumption of Mary to Heaven (8/7/99)



I greet you all in advance for this significant feast in our Church on the "Assumption of Mary to heaven both body and soul" on August 15.

This is one part of the Truth delivered to us from God through His Church which is of great divine mystery.

I continue to be in awe but a firm believer nevertheless because with God anything is possible especially to those who "obeyed His will".

Although the Church celebrates only one of such precious gift and mystery given to one of His creatures (who so happen to also be chosen as the only Mother of God, Theotokos), this gift is not farfetched at all to everybody for as long as we remember to believe in Him Who created us and in loving Him, we obey His will and way.

The following has been put up on my 'TIS THAT SEASON webpage, which has a link from my homepage as given on my signature.


Excerpt from "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Dr. Ludwig Ott

The Bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Mary's Death

Mary suffered a temporal death. Even if reliable historical reports as to the place (Ephesus, Jerusalem), the time, and the circumstances of Mary's death are lacking, still the fact of her death is almost generally accepted by the Fathers and Theologians, and is expressly affirmed in the Liturgy of the Church...

Origen, St. Ephrem, Severian of Gabala mention the fact of her death incidentally. St. Epiphanius, who had already instituted researches into the close of Mary's life says: "Nobody knows how she departed this world." He leaves undecided whether she died a natural death, or whether (according to Luke 2:35) she died by violence, or whether she still lives on immortal in some place unknown to us. The unknown author of a sermon which has come down to us under the name of the Presbyter Timotheus of Jerusalem (6th-8th cent.) is of the opinion that "the virgin is up to now immortal (that is, did not die), as He who (in her) lived, translated her into the place of reception (that is, into the Heavenly Paradise)". For Mary, death, in consequence of her free from original sin and from personal sin, was not a consequence of punishment of sin. However, it seems fitting that Mary's body, which was by natural mortal, should be, in conformity with that of her Divine Son, subject to the general law of death.

The Bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven After Pope Pius XII, on 1st May, 1946, had addressed to all bishops in the world the official query whether the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven could be defined as a proposition of faith, and whether they with their clergy and people desired the definition, and when almost all the bishops had replied in the affirmative, on 1st November, 1950, he promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution "Munificentissimus Deus" as a dogma revealed by God that: "Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven"

Proof from Scripture and Tradition

Direct and express scriptural proofs are not to be had. The possibility of the bodily assumption before the second coming of Christ is not excluded by 1 Cor. 15:23, as the objective Redemption was completed with the sacrificial death of Christ, and the beginning of the final era foretold by the prophets commenced. Its probability is suggested by Mt. 27:52-53:"And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept rose, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection came into the holy city and appeared to many." According to the more probable explanation, which was already expounded by the Fathers, the awakening of the "saints" was a final resurrection and transfiguration. If, however, the justified of the Old Covenant were called to the perfection of salvation immediately after the conclusion of the redemptive work of Christ, then it is possible and probable that the Mother of the Lord was called to it also...

From her fulness of grace spoken in Luke 1:28, scholastic theology derives the doctrine of the bodily assumption and glorification of Mary. Since she was full of grace she remained preserved from the three-fold curse of sin (Gn. 3:16-19), as well as from her return to dust. In the woman of the Apocalypse clothed with the sun (Rev. 12:1), which in its literal sense, must be taken to mean the Church, Scholastic theology sees also the transfigured mother of Christ. The Fathers too refer passages suchs as Psalm 131:8 in a typical sense to the mystery of the bodily assumption:"Arise, O Lord, into they resting place; thou and the ark which thou has sanctified, the ark of the Covenant made from incorruptible wood (a type of the incorruptible body of Mary." Apocalypse/Rev. 11:19: "And the temple of God was opened in Heaven and the ark of His Covenant was seen in His Temple." Songs 8:5: "Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved?" Modern theology usually cites Gn.3:15 in support of the doctrine. Since by the seed of the woman it understands Christ, and by the woman, Mary, it is argued that as Mary had an intimate share in Christ's battle against satan and His victory over satan and sin, she must also have participated intimately in His victory over death. It is true that the literal reference of the text is to Eve and not Mary, but alread since the end of the second century, Tradition has seen in Mary the new Eve.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) CCC 966:
"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.
CCC 971:
"All generations will call me blessed":

"The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virtin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God', to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs...This very special devotion... differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.
CCC 974:
The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body.
CCC 975:
"We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ" (Paul VI).


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Frankly, Marriage...(3/25/99)



Last night, my students just went through their test/quiz on the sacraments (roughly 35 items: enumeration, fill in the blanks, definition, multiple choice plus bonus points for 10 commandments). It was rough for both of us because although they knew about it for a couple of weeks now and we've had reviews last week, I reminded them only the night before. I thought with such short notice, couple of students of mine whose parents claim they have "LD" (learning disability) would panic and not go to class but they did anyway because I assured them and their parents I am very confident they can make it and if not we'll just do re-test in a couple of weeks (after Holy Week we resume classes).

Anyway, I've been moved to tackle this topic now and before I procrastinate or even forget it and since this weekend it is again going to be super-busy with practices here and there, updating my TIS THAT SEASON webpage in between for Passion/Palm Sunday and Holy Week, rehearsing the "dialogue" we are going to do for "Gospel reading" this Sunday at Mass (I'm "speaker" - all persons who spoke to Jesus other than the crowd, ie. Pontius Pilate, Apostles, Peter, etc.), I figured do this now while the "inspiration" is at its peak.

There are two main items here for brief discussion.

First is "frankness" in relation to "Truth" and "truthfulness".

Most of you probably know that Jesus was very frank. He did not try to win friends by just being "nice" or having "nice words only" to say. He even called some people names, ie. "you brood of vipers", "step aside, satan", "stiff-necked people", etc. And He went through emotional outbursts too, as part of His "honesty, frankness and truthfulness", ie. wept, got angry at the people, played smart-Guy with those who asked Him questions in order to trick Him, etc.

So Jesus Christ did not bend or hide the Truth so as to not hurt anybody. Again, He was not afraid to lose friends or family and He told that to others too "Do you think I have come to establish peach on earth? No, I tell you but rather division..."(read Luke 13:49-53 "Jesus cause of division").

When it was time to teach the Truth, He was frank and if it was necessary, He reprimanded people and called them names, ie. "brood of vipers" to "wake them up" and get a moral point across. So, sometimes His Truth hurts too.

Ie. In John 6 when Jesus emphasized over and over again that His flesh is Real Food and His blood is Real Drink (prelude to Last Supper Breaking of Bread...). Boy, that sure freaked out many people that they left that scene.

Afterall, the Truth will set us free. And God is Truth. So if you want to really, really know God personally, we must accept His Full Unadulterated Truth and not just part of it while hiding or rejecting the rest (ie. you don't like it or you're afraid to lose someone if you accept it, etc.).

Also, Truth is huge as God is Infinite. (And it's not all contained in the Scripture.) Thus, the Church has continued to gather all of God's revealed Truth to be promulgated to His people.

Okey. So that's about Christ's frankness as related to teaching the full Truth to others. Now let's tackle the other item which is "marriage".

I tell you frankly, I personally do not know a lot about marriage (being single and never been married) except my observation and witness of my own parent's 54 years (and still going) of wonderful marriage. They still love and care for each other and I feel very "joyful and fulfilled" just knowing they are there.

But I tell you frankly and truthfully too that there is one very sure and definite Truth that I know about marriage - God is the One Who marries man to woman.

That's why "what God united, let no one separate" or only in death that marriage does end (afterall, there's no marriage after the resurrection, see Matthew 25).

(Jesus said not everybody is called to marriage though. He enumerated the 3 main reasons some remain celibate or unmarried and also in order to prevent divorce, etc. But since this is not about being single but rather about marriage, if interested, just refer to what He had to say in Matthew 19:11-12 regarding call to celibacy.)

Nobody need re-invent the wheel, or make-up human made definitions, ie. "this is just between the couple", "it is up to the couple", etc. because God is there to make things work!

Really. Thus, it is not the person, ie. priest, who marries the man to the woman. The priest is there as "witness". It is really God who marries them.

Since it is God, it one of His Holy sign thus the RC Church has it as one of the 7 sacraments ("signs of God's gift and grace"), ie. Holy Matrimony.

Of course, part of the Church's work to keep such "holiness" valid is to make sure the couple to be married are properly guided and are marrying for the right reasons.

One thing for sure that is not part of this "holiness" is that there is no marrying just anybody or anything to anybody, ie. "you can't marry your car", "marry your pet", "same gender psuedo-marriage", etc. Surely, God is not part of that because ever since the beginning, ever since Adam and Eve, then, now, Old Testament, New Testament, and still going, God marries man-to-woman .

That's God's Holy Tradition regarding this sacrament. He marries man-to-woman: "man leaves parents to be united into one flesh with woman".

Also, since God marries the man to the woman, for a marriage to truly be blessed by Him, what better way to do it but right at His Very Real Presence - in the Eucharist, at Mass...moreover, relating the very connection to Christ, the Bridegroom to His Bride, the Church - how Christ loves us very much so should the husband love his wife as well.

That's just part of the Truth that makes very good common sense - God marries man to woman and God/Jesus is Real Present in the Eucharist. God - right there. The couple right before God Himself.

"In the Latin Rite (RC) the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized in which Christ has united Himself for ever to the Church, His beloved Bride for whom He gave Himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for His Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form "one body" in Christ." [CCC 2621]

So there's a brief tackle of marriage, the very sacrament that God does Himself as Holy Matrimony.

Well, there's of course more that these besides what's not supposed to be married but this is just the most basic of the Truth on this sacrament.

There's of course "divorce" which is never equal at all to "annulment".

Divorce/separation is done by people and since God united man to woman, divorce does nothing but just some paper works but really, in the eyes of God, the couple remains a couple/married! Read Matthew 19, this was when Christ called those who insisted on divorce as "stiff-necked".

So you can't remarry if you get divorced because you'll be committing adultery since you are still married to the first.

However, with "annulment" by the RC Church which represents God as His main witness, basically "marriage gets annulled, dissolved".

"It did not happen." And the Church will go through investigation and observation to annul the marriage. Since the Church is the "Body of Christ", she has been empowered to do such in order to prevent others from committing adultery, if they decided they want to remarry again.

(sigh...stiff-necked people never ends...)

And Matthew 19, as if by prophecy that "stiff-necked" people will continue to exist in the future, has a brief account on "annulment", with the "exception clause" (note Matthew's enclosure in parenthesis of it): Mt 19:9 - "I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful(!!!)) and marries another commits adultery.

The Church annuls marriage that was in the first place unlawful or invalid, since God would probably not have been part of such "unlawfulness", since He is of "holiness only" afterall - therefore, the marriage, after proven to be such, is annulled.

"Did/does not exist." Remember, with "divorce", the marriage still exists.

"Annulment", marriage was not there in the first place.

So again, it is God Who marries man to woman and in His Holiness, only man is married to woman, and even part of the requirements, as God directed before is "be fruitful and multiply".



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Co-Redemptrix/Mediatrix (10/31/99)



The "Truth" of Mary being co-redemptive has been there always whether or not the pope declares it as a dogma or not. In the same regard, we, all of us members of the Church, "act" or are in the same spirit of being "co-redemptive", everytime we take Christ's advice,ie: "Pick up your cross and follow Me."

With each prayer, sacrifice, fasting we offer to God, we do this a lot of times not for our sake but for the sake of other's soul - when God hears our plea then, in a way we have become co-redeemer in Christ.

Please take not that there is the prefix "co" there which is "with", which further means "with and in the Name of Christ" and can NOT exist WITHOUT Christ.

Thus, in the first place, this is not about Mary or us, members of the Church acting as "redeemers" on our own. This is just humbly being "co-"redepmtion.

In line with "co-redemption", there is also the title "Mediatrix" for Mary which some people have argued about too.

But just like "Co-redemption" this does not "bypass" Jesus Christ whatsoever because we all know that the Only Mediator between man and God is Jesus. And for Mary to be "Mediatrix", it is about INTERCESSION between man and Jesus and not necessarily directly to God, the Father.

But, you may take this from Jesus Christ Himself not to be offended if we go directly to His Father, considering, He gave us His "permission" to interceded directly to God when He taught us the "Lord's Prayer" - you know, "Our Father...give us this day..." In this prayer, we intercede/mediate between ourselves and God Himself.

So if to some "Co-redemptrix" and "Mediatrix" seem to be "offensive" or is about Mary being put in the same level as Jesus Christ, think again.

It is "with" Christ that Mary (and most of us) become co-redeemers (remember, "pick up your crosses and follow Me...") and also "with" Christ that Mary (and most of us) are mediating between man and God, especially when we pray directly to God, the Father in "Our Father..."

I personally would say to you who complain or feel leery about these matters, "snap out of it!" b/c if Jesus is not complaingin and considering He even advised us to do so, neither you nor I are in the position to go against it at all.

Bottom line, when the Church declares these 2 as dogmas, I'm all for it!!!

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