Assumptions on the Assumption by Sr. Carolyn

Our Lady is awesome and, right after one of her feast days, I feel the need to thump one lady’s notions. No, Mary doesn’t need my defense, and she really doesn’t need Sister Carolyn’s, but I feel compelled to defend Truth, which isn’t found anywhere in her lame video. Please feel free to check the link because it’s not worth my time to alter the HTML code to embed the video. The pseudo-transcription is courtesy of the YouTube transcript I found. Before anyone goes on a justifiable rant on women doing the homily, she’s not.  She just wishes she could, so she makes videos instead.

The Feast of the Assumption means that Mary is just as good as the guys.

What in the what?!?!?! I think Mary is a bit better, I’d say! I think Sr. Carolyn was probably going for the “Women are equal, gosh darn it!” message, but sadly she goes on to actually downplay all things Mary. The liberals just never quite know what to do with Mary and this bi-polar piece nails that. “She’s the same as the guys, but if she had been a prostitute then she’d REALLY be something special!” is kind of where they usually end up.  She’s a BIG inconvenience to them.

There’s Jesus, of course, and we tend to talk about his Ascension and Mary’s Assumption as if he did it on his own and she needed some help.

Oh yeah, there’s Him. Ho-hum. Thanks, Sister! What would we do without your astute insight??? Unbelievably, people paid money to have this lady teach them. I’d be looking for a refund right about now. As for the rest of the sentence, I’m pretty sure there’s a wee bit of heresy in there, and Fr. Martin unsurprisingly just gave that a plug. I actually tripped over this via Fr. Martin’s Facebook page.

Yes, Sister, there actually is a difference between the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Christ. Does this really need to be said?  I guess so. Maybe read a few more bible verses and, oh, maybe some Church documents?

Christ said he would ascend.  This is in the Creed, for heaven’s sake. “He ascended into Heaven” It’s not “He was assumed into Heaven.” I don’t know. Maybe you don’t say this one because there are too many gender specific pronouns to sub? Sigh. Can you stop playing “Wheel of Heresy” for just a second, Sister? Honestly, I’m pretty sure her little “homily” contains more than a few. My smart readers will have to start naming them for me.

So let’s look at your lack of bible verses and church docs, shall we?

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.

John 6:62 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

John 20:17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.

And then there’s the dogma of the Assumption:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html

That’s apparently not good enough for Sister Carolyn, though:

But if you look carefully at a good translation of the story of Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:9 you’ll see that he too was lifted up and received into heaven on a cloud.

And this is why Catholics don’t believe in private interpretation of Scripture. I realize you think you have some magical authority to set cherry picked bible verses against Church teaching, but you don’t.

But Jesus and Mary are by no means the first to have been thought to go up into this, out of this life – to somewhere up there where God is. You will of course remember Elijah and his fiery chariot in 2 Kings 11 but even before him Enoch was taken up by God and seen no more as Genesis 5.

OK, I’m not going to quibble about the fact that they had some sort of special exit, but to say we know exactly where they went and how it happened? This has never been said by the Church and has been mulled over by many. Also, again, you misquote. It’s actually “taken by God” not taken up. Then there’s Elijah who was taken up to “heaven” but did that just mean the sky?  Who the heck knows? Not Sister Carolyn. Not the Church Fathers. No definitive teaching on that, and since the gates of Heaven were closed until “Jesus, of course,” the Church Fathers leaned heavily toward the Limbo of the Fathers. Regardless, none of this at all changes the differences of the Ascension of Christ and Assumption of Mary. Mary did “need help” with that. She wasn’t God after all. Maybe you’re the reason Protestants think we worship Mary?

But it’s not only biblical figures who were believed to be taken up to heaven. Livy reported this of Romulus one of the mythic founders of Rome. Roman emperors were depicted being taken up that way, Augustus Titus and Constantine among them. Emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina are depicted heading for heaven held up by a nude adult male winged figure, with fig leaf added in the Renaissance, on a massive column base in the garden of the Vatican Museum and it’s still there. Even one imperial woman got her own depiction of being conveyed to heaven, Sabina, the wife of the Emperor Hadrian.

Now we’re talking about the Assumption in the same breath as mythical characters? Kind of telling, don’t you think, Sister? I’m kind of surprised you didn’t throw a little Greek mythology in there, too. Just an FYI, Christians looked kindly on the few good Roman emperors who cared for their people. What a shocker. I’m quite sure people hoped for Heaven for them.

So the Ascension of Jesus the Assumption of Mary are by no means unique rather they conveyed a message to their world. Jesus and Mary rate with the great ones.

Jesus and Mary simply rate with the great ones like, say, Romulus?! Oh my. You really got a winner there, Fr. Martin! Yes, sister.

The tradition of including Mary is surprisingly early possibly late fourth or for sure early fifth century.

Maybe as early as the time she was assumed into Heaven? Sigh. By the way, she’s wrong.  It appeared in Transitus Mariae in the second or third century. That said, that’s not when the “tradition started.”  Sister is trying to get people to believe this is just a nice little mythological tradition with no real importance. WRONG! And the “it suddenly became a belief when…” is really what Protestants say. Again, rather telling about Sister Carolyn’s beliefs.

We might be tempted to think of a feast like this as quiet and peaceful, a time for calm, rejoicing.  maybe the image in your mind is the Assumption of Mary by Murillo. Oh, a very common one. Mary quietly joins her hands and looks upward blue mantle flying while a bunch of chubby little angels push her cloud heavenward.

I don’t know.  Going to heaven sounds pretty peaceful and a reason to rejoice to me.  Yes, there are many depictions of the Assumption, Murillo’s is one of them, but many look rejoicing and rather victorious.

But no, our readings for the Feast suggest something different. Being with the great ones isn’t peaceful. It means struggle. In our first reading from revelation the dragon threatens the life of the child. His mother must flee to protect him like so many immigrant and refugee mothers whose children are not rescued at the last minute as this one is. It’s a struggle for survival for this woman and her child a reflection of the struggle that continues age after age in our world.

Oh my gosh!  She just had to find a way to work the border thing in there, didn’t she? Let’s just get this straight, in this day and age EVERY bible verse is about Trump and the border.  Is she saying that this is what Heaven is like?  Kind of a weird reading of Revelation.  The part of Revelation that addresses Heaven is:

And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men: and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people: and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more. Nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. Rev 21:2-4

But you can’t really make a reference to the border with that one.

Yes, of course this feast day is a reason to celebrate and rejoice! I’m not sure which “great ones” she’s referring to, but it’s not those in Heaven with the angels and the saints experiencing the beatific vision. More specifically, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Sister Carolyn might want to crack that one open every once in a while) says this of Heaven:

II. HEAVEN

1023 Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face:598

By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment – and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven – have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.599

1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.”

Seems pretty peaceful and with a lack of struggling to me.

1025 To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,”600 but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name.601

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.602

1026 By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened” heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.

1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”603

1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beatific vision”:

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God’s friends.604

1029 In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him “they shall reign for ever and ever.”605

Why she doesn’t embrace this view is beyond me. Sign. Me. Up. (Well, after I’ve had much time to do penance, please.)

The familiar Gospel reading from Luke portrays Mary as she journeys to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth and the encounter of the two expectant mothers and their, as yet, unborn sons. Mary’s response is the ecstatic song that we usually call the Magnificat. Those who pray evening prayer regularly recite this canticle and perhaps familiarity makes us numb to its promises and its threats. Mary’s song is not peaceful, rather, it’s unsettling it proclaims the upheaval of quiet lives. The proud will be scattered, the mighty will be cast down from their Thrones and the lowly, and the connotation of the word in Greek (insert Greek because the translation didn’t) means pressed down or oppressed, not those who practice the virtue of humility, they will be raised up and the hungry will be filled with good things. So look out those who sit on thrones of worldly power!

Who’s she gunning for with that one? Trump? The all-male clergy? Conservatives? So many possibilities!

I’ve never heard anyone talk about the Magnificat as a threat. I see it more as the truth of what happens when we trust in God, follow him and keep his Commandments or we don’t. The choice is ours. It’s not about the power we hold or where we sit, rich, poor, powerful or weak. It’s about the choices WE make, not the ones made for us. The most peace I get (and I fail this one often as a mom) is to do what I THINK God wants me to do, pray and trust. Mary is the model of this for us.

Let’s actually look at the prayer from Vespers:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

And, interestingly enough, the antiphon for the day was:

Ant. Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever.

Completely peaceful for those who put their trust in Christ and do his will. Oh, and those who practice the virtue of humility, which actually helps with trusting in Christ and doing his will.  Not sure why Sister Carolyn is down on the virtue. Maybe she’s not into striving for that one. It’s so tiring to see “people who are leaders are bad” and “only poor, oppressed people go to Heaven.” Both groups can fail at gaining Heaven without practicing virtue, and both groups can succeed when their focus is on God. The “rich bad/poor good” is a literalist interpretation the Church does not hold.

Now the problem with this is that in Luke’s Gospel it’s all in the past tense as if it has already happened. A quick look around our world today prompts the wonderment. What? Let’s leave that question for a moment and go to the second reading which I skipped earlier because I think it’s better to deal with it last.

Luke, your gospel has problems, man.  You need to run these things by Sister Carolyn. New Testament scholar. Umm, could it be because it actually had happened in the past? Mary was saved in a special way by God at the moment of her conception.

In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul is grappling with his attempt to explain the mystery of the Resurrection to people, who apparently, were pretty skeptical about the idea. Paul too speaks of a struggle. In the end he says Christ will hand over everything to God his father once he has put all enemies under his feet an allusion to Psalm 110;1 which was already considered to refer to the Messiah. But says Paul the last enemy to be destroyed is death. The resurrection of Christ has begun to put that defeat of death in motion. We’re not there yet and that’s why Luke’s Mary and her Magnificat can see from the same perspective that Paul sees here. That last enemy will be destroyed. And when that happens, that’s when we can say that all God’s promises have been accomplished so why celebrate the Assumption of Mary? Because of what it promises.

Why? Well, the Church told us why in Munificentissimus Deus:

42. We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ’s Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.

Back to Sr. Carolyn:

Mary too is caught up in this great process of realizing the effects of the resurrection. It’s not a promise of peace during the course of the process rather it’s a promise of tension and struggle. We live in time and we touch eternity.

I have no idea where she’s going with this one.  Kind of rambling, but if she’s saying “God is outside of time”, “The battle has already been won”, and “We need to carry our cross”, then I can agree. If she’s saying Mary’s Assumption (you know the thing this is supposed to be about) is somehow stressful to Mary, uh… Her Assumption is just what the Church said it was. It’s an example of the “lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined.”

I have a favorite poem that speaks to me of all of this. GK Chesterton’s Regina Angelorum written in 1925. It’s about the Assumption of Mary. I share it with you the last two verses only because Mary is in heaven she is exploring her new place.

She quotes it a little poorly, but the emphasis on her big and likely purposeful change is all mine.

But ever she walked till away in the last high places,
One great light shone
From the pillared throne of the king of all the country
Who sat thereon;
And she cried aloud as she cried under the gibbet
For she saw her son.

Our Lady wears a crown in a strange country,
The crown he gave,
But she has not forgotten to call to her old companions
To call and crave;
And to hear her calling ONE might arise and thunder
On the doors of the grave.

I just can’t believe these old biddies are so jealous of men that they have to “translate” their favorite poems for us. That “one” should “a man.” I’m not offended at Chesterton’s use, are you? Why anyone would change literature to suit their ridiculous agenda is beyond me. Kind of shocked any oppressive male pronouns actually made it into her translation at all.

This woman doesn’t represent me. She represents dissent. If she and her ilk spent more time focusing on virtue and getting to Heaven instead of championing priestesses (a colossal waste of time), this Church would be a better place. She’s just an embarrassment to my sex.

8 thoughts on “Assumptions on the Assumption by Sr. Carolyn

  1. How did “Magnificat” get replaced with “proclaims”? Does Mary’s soul magnify the greatness of the Lord or does it simply comment/proclaim it? The imagery of her soul magnifying the Lord’s greatness is so powerful; proclaiming it sounds so passive.

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  2. I’ve been thinking about your comment about the Magnificat being a threat, and I completely agree and it really rubs me the wrong way. It’s just…wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things. But to save you some time, don’t bother looking for them on Fr. Martin’s Facebook page.

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