`MARY~THE MOTHER OF CHRIST JESUS`
Mary in Christian Tradition
Mary's Death and Assumption into Heaven
Dormition of Mary
Stories from the 5th century (or perhaps earlier) recount Mary's later life,
her death and assumption into heaven --
events unreported by the four Gospels.
The legends describe Jesus appearing to Mary in the house on Mount Sion in Jerusalem
where she lived after Pentecost.
Her Son tells her she is soon to die. From all parts of the world the apostles gather
to bid her farewell:
"Stretching out his hands, the Lord received her holy soul. And when her soul departed,
the place was filled with a sweet smell and bright light.
"And a voice from heaven proclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women.'
"Peter and John, Paul and Thomas, ran to embrace her feet and receive her holiness;
and the twelve apostles laid her Holy Body on a bier and bore it forth. (Ps. John:
The Dormition of Mary, 4th century)
"Instructed by Jesus, Peter and the other apostles took her body to be buried
in a new tomb near Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley,
where miracles of healing accompanied her burial.
"Three days later, angels took her body to heaven."
By the year 600, a feast called the Dormition of Mary, honoring her death
and assumption into heaven, was celebrated in Jerusalem
and in the churches of the East. Some centuries later it would pass into
the Western churches known as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
One of the first churches in Christendom dedicated to Mary was built over her tomb near Gethsemane around 400 A.D. Today, a church still marks this site in Jerusalem.
In the 7th century, Theothekno, bishop of Palestine, preached a homily
on the feast of Mary's Assumption, August 15:
"Rejoice with the Mother of God,
with angels and saints,
and celebrate this great feast:
the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
"On earth she was a fruitful virgin,
in heaven she intercedes for all;
through this blessed woman,
the Spirit's gifts still flow upon us,
and her words teach gentle wisdom.
"At her assent the earth blossomed;
she sought good things for the poor.
Now in heaven her care is undiminished,
near her Son she seeks the good of us all."
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-`Mary, the Mother of Jesus`-
• Her daily life *
Her name was Mary, a form of the name Miriam, the famous sister of Moses.
The name was common among Jewish women in those days.
A well-known tradition says she was born in Jerusalem,
the daughter of Joachim and Ann.
Other early sources say Mary was born in Nazareth.
There is even an ancient record that points to Sepphoris,
a town a few miles from Nazareth, as her birthplace.
Wherever she was born, Mary's life most likely unfolded in the staunch
Jewish settlement of Nazareth in the hills of Galilee,
not far from the important caravan routes linking Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The Jews there were a strong, robust people.
The hill climate was dry and healthful.
And though the land often lacked water and no one knew from one year
to the next if enough rain would fall or if invading locusts or field mice
would spoil the crops -- still, facing uncertainty
only made the people of Galilee more hard-working and close-knit.
Struggling for a living deepened their religious spirit.
They learned you must depend on God always.
Her Daily Life
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Mary was a woman of rural Galilee. She lived as they did, in a small family house of stone and mud-brick. She worked like any young girl, grinding wheat and barley into flour, preparing dishes of beans, vegetables, eggs, fruits, nuts, and occasional chunks of mutton. Wool had to be made into clothing. Bread had to be baked. A few chickens and a donkey had to be fed. And in the village, small as it was, there were always little children to care for.
Almost daily she carried a large jar of water from the town well for washing and cooking (the well still supplies modern Nazareth today and is called "Mary's Well"). Early on, the Jews found that cleanliness prevented disease, so frequent washing -- an important chore of women -- became part of their religious practice. The well also was a favorite spot where women talked and traded bits of everyday news.
Just as for the other women of Nazareth, the seasons and times of harvest determined what
Mary had to do. With the first downpour of rain in October,
the vital wheat crop was sown on the mountain fields,
to be gathered -- if all went well -- in May. Small dark olives,
knocked from dull green trees in September, had to be pressed into oil for lamps and food.
In May or June, early figs were picked; in July, the softer juicy fruit. Grapes and pomegranates ripened in September and October. God blessed the hills of Galilee with his bounty, but it could never be taken for granted.
The unpredictable land could just as well give nothing to those working it.
From the people of Nazareth Mary learned about life. Few strangers visited the town. It had little wealth, culture or learning. But just as a tiny drop of water contains a wealth of living organisms, so the small town of Nazareth had a rich life of its own. Children were born, young people married, someone died and was buried. Mary felt these joys and sorrows. A sheep was lost, a family quarreled, a son left home. From such small things,
life's deepest lessons could be learned.
Her Rich Faith
The people of Nazareth had a strong Jewish faith. As God's chosen people, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Jews believed this land was theirs, given to their ancestors whom Moses led out of Egypt. They knew by heart the deeds of kings like David and Solomon and the words of prophets like Isaiah and Elijah. Even though the Romans, with Herod's family as their puppets, now occupied Palestine, the Jews of Galilee believed God would someday send a Messiah who would free Israel from her enemies.
They lived in a war-torn land. For centuries before the Roman occupation, conquering armies of Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians and Greeks fought over Palestine. Despite their wars, revolts and riots, the Jews remained a subject people -- taxed, bullied and despised by succeeding rulers. Like their compatriots, the Jews of Nazareth were never far from the dangers of political violence. During the Jewish uprisings in Galilee around 6 A.D. -- when Jesus was a child -- Roman legions captured the city of Sepphoris, sold all its inhabitants into slavery and burned the city to the ground.
For some Jews, foreign domination only fanned the fires of revolution more brightly in their hearts. Others, like the Pharisees, became more strictly conservative and exclusive in their religious practices. Still others, like Mary and many ordinary people of the land, became more and more aware that they were powerless themselves, but God, the all powerful, could raise up the lowly. Their faith was of the deepest kind:
"The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Blessed be the Lord.
The Lord our God, the Lord alone!
Therefore you shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, and with all your soul
and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:4-5)
Mary's faith was strong. Yet, in fervently religious Nazareth with its high moral standards, she hardly stood out at all, even in the eyes of those who knew her best. Besides, as a woman living in a society where men counted most, she would be little noticed
except as a mother and a wife.
When she was 15 or so, Mary's parents made plans for her to be married, as was customary in those days. They chose Joseph of Nazareth, a carpenter, for her husband. The engagement took place and Mary returned home to wait about a year before she would go to live with her husband as his wife. But then, something happened.
A MESSENGER ANGEL APPEARED TO MARY....
"The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David;
and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.'
"She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean,
but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favor. Listen!
You are to conceive and bear a Son, and you must name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob forever
and his reign will have no end.'
"Mary said to the angel, 'How can this come about, since I am a virgin?'
"'The Holy Spirit will come upon you,' the angel answered, 'and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.'
"'I am the handmaid of the Lord,' said Mary. 'Let what you have said be done to me.'
"And the angel left her." (Luke 1:26-38)
The Gospels, compiled years after these events at Nazareth, tell the story of Jesus and recall Mary only incidentally. True, St. Luke's account sees Mary favored by God, the Lord's handmaid, a model believer. His story describes her fear and perplexity, her faith and acceptance during the angel's visit. But still, we are left to ourselves to imagine Mary's life and her experience when the angel left her.
The angel's message struck like lightning, changing everything for her. Immense joy filled the young girl's soul when she conceived the child by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But when the angel left, Mary was alone.
Living With Mystery
Nazareth certainly was unaware of the angel's visit. That day and the days afterward, men tended the fields, the aroma of fresh bread filled the village air, women talked around the well. The Word of God was made flesh, but the people of Nazareth saw nothing changed. In their eyes, Mary was still a young girl of 16, espoused to Joseph the carpenter.
Once the angel left, Mary faced some troubling questions with only faith to guide her. What about her marriage to Joseph? Since she was bearing a child that was not his, Mary had to face the anguishing prospect of divorce and the shame it could bring down upon her in a small town that frowned on an unfaithful wife. Even though he had a high regard for her, how could she explain to Joseph the mysterious act of God and an angel no one else saw?
The threat was removed when the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son and you must name him Jesus."
When Joseph woke, he took Mary as his wife to his home.
Together they would do what God would have them do
Source: Mary's Stories:
The Passionists - Compassion Excerpts.
TO BE CONTINUED WITH MARY'S VISIT TO HER COUSIN, Elizabeth...
'Angelic Heavenly Star'
`MY PRAYER FOR YOU`
Dear Heavenly Father, I Thank You
For Abundantly Blessing Me
With Special Loved Ones And Friends
Throughout My Lifetime,
Thank You For Being So Gracious To Me
In Taking Care Of My Every Need.
I Come To You In Prayer Asking You
To Bless All Who Are In Pain
I Send Up This Prayer To You
Our Heavenly Father
Please Comfort All Who Are In Physical Pain
And Sufferings Of Sorrow
According To Thy Will,
Please Let Them Feel Your Presence.
By Instilling In Their Hearts
That They Are Never Ever Really Alone.
I Have Complete Faith And Trust In You Dear Jesus,
Please Descend Down Your Holy Healing Spirit
Upon All Who Are In Need Of Healing,
B Lordoth Physically and Spiritually
Upon All Who Are In Need Of Healing,
Please Dear Lord, [et Them Know
How Very Much You Love
And Care For All Souls.
Thank~You Sweet Jesus,
In Your Holy name I Pray!