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Bobby Cohoon wrote:

Hello Mike,

Again, thanks for the information you have sent me. I pray the Rosary and am still absorbing the Catechism.

My question is on the Assumption of Mary.

  • Was Mary assumed into Heaven after dying here on earth, or
  • when her days on earth were over, was she taken alive to Heaven?

My next question is on being an Oblate.

  • Is that limited to persons of the Catholic faith or it is open to anyone?
  • How does one become an Oblate (especially of there are no Oblates in the area)?

Thanks for all you have done. I am leaning closer to the Catholic faith than ever before, not that I have ever been hostile towards my Catholic brothers and sisters. I don't like the word Protestant because it seems to imply that I am protesting against the Catholics and I never have done that.

Actually, I have found out that my beliefs are closer to the Catholic faith than to any other. Things like devotion to Mary and Transubstantiation are things that I have always believed in.

In Him,

Bobby Cohoon
North Carolina

  { Was Mary assumed alive into Heaven or did she first die and can a non-Catholic be an Oblate? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Bobby —

Great to hear from you.

You said:
My question is on the Assumption of Mary.

  • Was Mary assumed into Heaven after dying here on earth, or
  • when her days on earth were over, was she taken alive to Heaven?

First, if you want a solid background for anything Catholic that's of an historical nature,
New Advent is a great site to check out. It is the 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia — on-line.

Here is what they say on the Assumption:

If you go to the bottom of the New Advent page above, a note states:

[Note: By promulgating the Bull Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November, 1950,
Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith. Likewise, the Second Vatican Council taught in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium that:

"the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things (n. 59)."]

This last quote is the extent to what practicing Catholics have to believe doctrine-wise.
It is a reiteration of what Munificentissimus Deus stated in 1950; a belief that has been held since Apostolic Times.

That said: There are two non-doctrinal traditions, small "t" or theological opinions in the Church.

One, that our previous Holy Father, John Paul II believed in, taught that after the end of her earthly life, Our Blessed Mother died, like us, and was then assumed into Heaven after her death.

There is another tradition, small "t" or theological opinion that I, Greek Orthodox Christians, and Eastern Rite Catholics subscribe to. It holds that Our Blessed Mother, at the end of her life fell asleep, then was assumed into Heaven. In Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic Rites, the celebration of the Assumption of Mary is known as the Dormition of Mary.

Years ago, I remember my Benedictine oblate friend telling her version of the tradition:

After Pentecost Sunday, the Apostles when to all corners of the world bringing the Gospel of Jesus to mankind, laboring day in, and day out. When the Apostles heard of the news that Our Blessed Mother had passed from this life, they all returned to where she had been living, [except the doubting Apostle, Thomas,] in order to give her the appropriate funeral Mass and burial rituals for the closing of the tomb. When Thomas heard of the news, he returned to where Our Blessed Mother had been living. Although he has missed the funeral Mass, the burial rituals, etc.,
he asked if he could just see Our Blessed Mother one more time.

The Apostles rolled back the tombstone from the tomb where our Blessed Mother had been laid to rest and instead of her body, they found one Easter Lily.

Side note: The second time my friend told me this tradition, she said they found a bunch of Easter Lilies.

I personally think they found one, but again these are all issues of theological opinion, not issues of doctrine.

I've appended the section On the Assumption and the Bible from my list of Catholic Scripture verses that defend Catholic doctrines page:

Our Blessed Mother's Assumption.

This Apostolic Teaching was formally declared by Pope Pius XII when he said:

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.

Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII

Commentary: The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother is something the Church has always believed, though how she was assumed is a matter of theological opinion.

  • Some like the Orthodox and I believe Our Lady gently feel asleep into Eternal Life. The Orthodox celebrate this as the Dormition of Mary.
  • Others, like St. John Paul II believed she died just like anyone of us would have died.
  • An ancient Coptic tradition states that when Mary was old and nearing this falling asleep, Jesus appeared to 72 of the disciples. He was on the chariot of the cherubim accompanied by 1,000 Angels, and he told them
    He was to take his Mother to himself. The disciples wept and asked that Mary should never die, but the Lord said her time was accomplished.

Patrick Madrid from "Where is that in the Bible" states:

Revelation 12:1-8 shows us that Mary, Ark of the New Covenant, is truly the mother of all Christians (even those who refuse to acknowledge her as their mother). This passage also shows us a vision of Mary, queen of Heaven, and hints at her Assumption. This gift of suffering no corruption in the grave and being "caught up" into Heaven while still alive is perfectly in accordance with Scripture. Similar assumptions are described below, and are promised to some Christians in 1 Thessalonians.

    Genesis 5:24
    Enoch walked with God, then was no more, because God took him.
    Hebrews 11:5-6
    It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not experience death: he was no more, because God took him; because before his assumption he was acknowledged to have pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who seek him.
    2 Kings 2:11
    Elijah was assumed into heaven in a fiery chariot.
    Matthew 27:52
    Many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
    1 Corinthians 15:52
    We shall be instantly changed at the last trumpet.
    1 Thessalonians 4:17
    Being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
    Revelation 11:19 — 12:1
    Ark in Heaven represents the woman clothed with the sun.
    (This woman is Mary.)

    A negative proof from history:

    Historically to this date archaeologists have not found the bones of Mary though they did find the bones of St. Peter.

You said:
My next question is on being an Oblate.

  • Is that limited to persons of the Catholic faith or it is open to anyone?
  • How does one become an Oblate (especially of there are no Oblates in the area)?

Since Oblates have a connection to a Catholic religious order, yes, it would be limited to those of the Catholic Faith. I'll show my bias here because I'm a Benedictine at heart. If someone wanted to become a Benedictine Oblate, he or she would find a copy of their diocesan Catholic directory to see if there was a local Benedictine monastery in their diocese. They could also check out nearby dioceses as well!

If there was a Benedictine order in your area, you would want to visit the monastery and ultimately make an appointment with the Superior of the Order to talk about the issue and what would be required on your part. In my area, it can consist of a series of required daily prayers and making periodic visits to the monastery, but this will probably vary from order to order.

The key is the spirituality and loyalty to the Holy See. I would far rather be a Dominican Oblate associated with a religious order that is loyal to the teachings of the Church, than be an Oblate of a Benedictine order whose members are allowed to dissent from the Magisterium of the Church.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Ann replied:

Hi Bobby,

Though an Oblate is typically Catholic, apparently the term is used for some Orthodox and Protestant groups, as well.

— Ann

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