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Today is the Assumption of Mary, but why is she so important to Christians?
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Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a holy day of obligation for Catholics around the world. Why is this day important and how is it celebrated? And why is Mary so important to Catholics?
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The Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven, and lives today with God and all the saints.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- August 15 is the feast day of the Assumption of Mary, which is an important day on the Church calendar. On this day each year, Catholics celebrate the assumption of Mary into heaven.
The dogma of the assumption of Mary is ancient. In the early days of the Church, writings suggest that Mary did not die, or that her tomb was empty, just as Christ's was. There was debate over whether she physically suffered death. There remains disagreement over this matter to this day. But ancient sources agree that she was assumed into heaven.
In wasn't until 1950 that Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of the Church, ex cathedra. Because of this proclamation, Catholics are required to accept this dogma as a matter of faith.
Scriptural evidence for this dogma was taken from Genesis 3:15, the Letters of Paul, 1 Corinthians, 15:54, Psalm 132 and Revelation 12:1-2. Ancient and traditional practices were also a factor. Throughout history, artists the Assumption of Mary has been a popular subject for artists. Theologians and Church leaders have repeatedly taught and written on the subject throughout history.
But why is Mary so important to warrant such a special passage into heaven?
The Church teaches that Mary was without sin. She accepted God's will for her life and freely and perfectly obeyed. She served God, and followed her son, Jesus Christ. She was present at his death and resurrection.
As a just reward for her goodness and devotion, she was assumed into heaven where she resides today in the company of God, and all the saints.
Mary, like the saints, can hear our prayers. She has a special connection to Jesus Christ as His mother, and therefore we believe she can intercede for us. There is also substantial evidence that Mary has delivered revelations to people throughout history, and she remains active in our world today. Countless miracles are attributed to her intercession.
The Virgin Mary remains one of the most important figures in the Catholic faith, as well as for most Christians around the world. All people are encouraged to follow her example and to emulate her devotion. Prayers, such as the Hail Mary, and the Hail Holy Queen are constantly recited by Christians, as well as the Rosary, which is a devotional prayer dedicated to Mary and her son, Jesus Christ.
She remains a favorite subject in art and entertainment. Her name is commonly given to children and taken by those making their confirmation.
As a holy day of obligation, Catholics will gather for Mass around the world and celebrate the life and assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. Given her impact as the world's most famous and powerful woman, it is easy to understand why more than a billion voices around the globe will gather and pray to honor her this holy day.
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