Monday, April 5, 2010

Fourth Glorious Mystery

Dear JR${}^2$,

I was wondering if you might have any insight a conjectural thought I had regarding various Traditions --- actually, I thought of asking your friend Jack first, mostly because of his ocasional motif: "no-one is told what would have happened". Then I started to worry because these specific Traditions are particularly extrascriptural, and remembering his reticence which I hear troubled you also, I figured it'd be better to ask a fellow Roman. On the other hand, I then remembered how you once mused that Men were from the first given a new gift, to "seek beyond the world, and find no rest therein", so I wondered if maybe we were thinking along similar lines. But enough digression!

From of old we celebrate both the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption to Heaven of Holy Mary the Theotokos; and also it is clear that these points are importantly interlinked. What I started wondering was whether the latter honour accorded to Mary should not have been the destined state of all Men had our first parents not fallen? To flesh out this notion, so to speak, while Mary indeed finally fell asleep, it would seem that she did not suffer the same sundering of body and spirit which is the fate of all Men marked by original sin.

And so, to phrase the question as I might ask it to trouble Jack, does Mary's Assumption show us "what would have happened" to us had we not sinned? I do expect he'd say "no-one is told", meaning that it is a distraction to speculate on such counter-factuals, but it seems to me that his other proscription doesn't apply here: we are told her story --- if not in full, still at least with these important highlights.

A distantly-related thought that occurs to me in this connection is that we often speak of Purgatory as having its own sort of time --- it works a process, gradually --- which suggests to me that it's tightly linked to the world we inhabit in our beginning, and I might even guess that purgatory was created after the fall, an invention as it were to make up for the defects we adopted in sinning. But it's also an important fact of purgatory that our souls pass through it without our bodies; even that our bodies would, echoing Jack's notions, "get in the way" of the cleansing flame. One might say that Mary could keep her body because her soul didn't need such cleansing, but I think it would be more proper to say we must lose ours for half of Time specifically because our souls do need it.

In the back of my head, at the same time, I've this notion that Mary's assumption holds an important confirmation of the Easter Promise: Specifically, Easter promises that death is not the terminus of our existence, but a new birth; but in the assumption we see that this new life isn't a "new thing", rather it's the promised return to us of our proper nature as seen in the entirely human Mary, lost under our sins, and liberated through God's merciful and gratuitous forgiveness.

Of course, this doesn't give the least inkling of the real mystery in Easter, or the Assumption; I'm keen to learn what you make of my nonsense?

an avid reader

PS. Now I've learned to count...


Amy said...

Hmm I have wondered this myself! I think so, yes! The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin shows us the happy fate of those never tainted by sin, who are taken up to rejoice with God immediately at the end of their earthly lives.

/dev/null said...

Oh, hello again! Good to see you drop by; but I shall have to review the story of Elijah, I suppose.

Say hello to Mr. for me, too!

Amy said...

I always read, I just can't comment intelligently on most of your posts, haha! Too mathy for me :(

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