Witness of the Sacred Scriptures to the Question of Immediate

Glorification

Faith Issues by Rev. Fr. Oliver Onah

It seems that no scripturistic connection directly relates to the dogma of the Assumption of Maria, Virgin Mother of God. However, the possibility of the bodily assumption before the second coming of Jesus Christ is not completely excluded by the Sacred Scripture.

For instance, its probability is suggested by the Gospel according to Matthew 27:52-53: "And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection came into the holy city and appeared to many."

Do you not think that if the justified of the Old Covenant were called to the perfection of salvation immediately after the conclusion of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, then it is possible and probable that the Mother of the Lord was called to it also in a higher form?

The Scripture even before this redemptive work of Christ, also tells us that Elijah (though an imperfect creature), was taken up to heaven alive in the presence of his servant.

In 2 Cor 12:1-4, St Paul relates his experience of a certain Christian man who was taken up to paradise. Although Paul confessed that he was not certain whether it happened actually or in vision, he was certain of one thing: that it happened.

These scriptural references provide us with indices pointing to the possibility of Maria's corporeal assumption. As a matter of fact, the case of Maria has a greater reason for the possibility of immediate glorification based on the 'inseparable union' between Jesus and Maria.

The document, Munificentissimus Deus, does not refer to any passage from the Scriptures in direct or indirect form. The document rather affirms that the doctrine of the glorious Assumption finds its basic foundation in the Sacred Scriptures, given that the Scripture, in a general mode, presents a very intimate union between Jesus and his Mother Maria; a communion that is very tight, for which it seems almost inconceivable to imagine that after her terrestrial life, Maria should be separated from Jesus Christ.

In this specific context, we do not say that the union is only with the soul, but also with the body because she is the one who conceived him with the milk of her breast, carried him between her arms and held him warmly to her chest.

The union between the Mother Maria and her Son, Jesus actually appears in the passages of the Gospel according to St John regarding the intervention of Maria at Cana of Galilee, and even again, her presence on the Calvary.

These passages insinuate that the union of the Mother with her Son does not limit itself only to their private life in Nazareth. It extends also to their public life. The Constitution refers also to another scripturistic text, the Protoevangelium, the Patristic tradition of the New Eve who fought and brought back victory to the human family.

In addition, the Constitution recourses to the Pauline doctrine in order to determine the nature of this victory. It is a victory over sin and death. For this reason, in the Holy Mass of the Vigil of the Feast of Assumption, in the Second Reading taken from 1 Cor 15:54-57, it reads in part: "When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

From the above expositions, there is no direct scripturistic demonstration of the doctrine of the Assumption. It finds only a generic orientation towards this privilege. The Church is therefore the "principio" that makes us to know the belonging of the corporeal glorification of Maria at the deposit of the revelation. The science of theology alone cannot do that. The Church remains the authority that creates the certainty of faith inasmuch as it guarantees a truth as revealed.


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