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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

August 13, 2009

Assumption of Mary

August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.  

The Assumption was when Mary's body was assumed or taken up to Heaven through the power of God to be with her Son, Jesus. By declaring that the Assumption was a dogma of faith, Pope Pius XII was only confirming what the people of the Church had believed for centuries. 

An annual feast day on August 15 to honor Mary is thought to have been celebrated in the Holy Land as early as the sixth century. A bishop of that era wrote about a celebration on the anniversary of Mary's "falling asleep." The Eastern Church named the feast "The Falling Asleep of the Mother of God."  

The dogma of the Assumption holds that Mary's body, born without Original Sin, was incorruptible and was taken to Heaven after her death. The Assumption of Mary has been included in many legends and stories. In the fifth century, at the famous Council of Chalcedon, the Eastern Roman emperor asked the Bishop of Jerusalem to have the relics of Mary's body brought to Constantinople. The bishop is said to have responded, "Mary died in the presence of the Apostles, but her tomb, when opened later on the request of St. Thomas, was found empty, and thus the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to Heaven."  

Mary was the first disciple of her Son and her Assumption is a preview of our own fate after death. Catholics believe in the resurrection of the body and soul.  

In 1 Corinthians 15:40–44, Paul describes the attributes of our heavenly bodies as imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual. In Heaven, we will never die again.  

The Feast of the Assumption is a good chance to remind everyone to take care of their bodies and respect them as Temples of the Holy Spirit, for our bodies are the seed from which our heavenly body will some day blossom.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you imagine your own heavenly body?
  2. What "age" do you think you will be in Heaven?
  3. Do you think it is important for the Church to speak infallibly on certain matters of faith? Which ones? Why?

Assumption Activity

  • Outline a workable program of diet and exercise you plan to take as an adult to show respect for your body.

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