Week of August 15, 2016
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption, Mary's being taken to heaven, body and soul. It's good to consider-- to keep in mind -- that this event also marks the ends of St. John's caregiving duties. That's why the feast of the Assumption is a special day for all caregivers grieving the loss of their loved ones.
It seems safe to presume that all the members of the early Christian community mourned Mary's leaving them but -- as Our Lady's primary caregiver -- St. John's sorrow, and joy, were unique.
Sorrow because he missed her. Joy because his faith told him she was now in heaven with her Son. There was that combination of emotions whether or not Mary physically died.
The Church doesn't say, definitively, one way or another on that issue. As the Encyclopedia of Mary explains, the Assumption is:
A dogma of faith Pope Pius XII solemnly defined on November 1, 1950. In his apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pius wrote: "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."
Pius' use of the phrase "was assumed" indicates that the Assumption is different from Christ’s Ascension. And his "having completed the course of her earthly life" does not say whether or not Mary actually experienced death.
Tradition favors the theological opinion that Mary died and was most likely buried near the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. And, as with the body of Christ, her body did not undergo decomposition after her death and burial but was assumed intact. Theologians note that, as in the case of the Resurrection, what the dogma of the Assumption defines is seen as a reality and a truth only by those with the gift of faith, by those who accept and respond to what is contained in Divine Revelation.
There is no explicit biblical evidence for the Assumption but, based on theological reasoning and Tradition, there is the implicit belief that Christ took his mother to himself at the moment of her leaving this life because she is one declared "full of grace" and the "highly favored daughter" of God the Father (Lk 1:28).
Of course, the caregiver and care-receiver aspects of this feast aren't just for caregivers whose loved ones have passed away. Many, many caregivers can testify that as their care-receivers have become more ill, their loved ones have "left them," little by little. The loss -- and the grieving -- don't begin with death. It can start weeks, months or years before that day.
May Our Lady in Need and St. John the Caregiver be with all those whose care-receivers have left them, with all those whose care-receivers are gradually leaving them.
- - -
This week we're so pleased to welcome Marie C. from New York, Janice B. and Jeffrey Z. from Wisconsin, Monica Z. from Indiana, John S. from Maine, and Lynn B. from Illinois as the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They have promised to pray for you and yours.
And again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
God bless you!
Welcome to YourAgingParent.com
This site is designed for family caregivers.
It's for those who are helping a:
Here you'll find spirituality, information and resources for
All our material and resources are free.
The Friends of St. John the Caregiver was chosen to be part of the USCCB's 2007-2008 Respect Life Program.