The early Church members painstakingly took time to remember their dead and to bury their dead. They were devoted to those who had lived their life according to the Way. Devotion to the martyrs, to the saints, began from the very beginning. Bones, hair, and any religious relic would be preserved in meticulous detail and astonishing care. Even today’s hoarders would be surprised at how the Christians loved their Saints! Not even the threat of persecution, Roman persecution, could or would stop their devotion! What was for sure is that the dead would not leave this earth without their shrine, their memorial, or a simple tombstone placed upon their grave. The faithful would not allow their memory, their possessions or their bodily remains to disappear.
For this reason we have ancient bones, ancient tombs, and even ancient relics from the Lord’s crucifixion. We have pieces of his cross. We also have a large piece of the Good thief’s cross. We have some thorns and nails used by the Romans during Christ’s beating and crucifixion. Under the main alter at St. Peter’s basilica in Rome, we find the remains of St. Peter. We have the tombstone (and the bones) of St. Paul that are located underneath his basilica just outside of Rome (St. Paul outside the walls). These are not some pious comments that I make. We are not talking gibberish. We are talking about facts! These findings are based on scientific archeological research.
There is no longer any debate.
There is another fact that should not go unnoticed. Like Jesus, we have no remains belonging to Mary. We have no tombstone, no bones, no hair, and no precious relic belonging to her person. Like Jesus, Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of all the Apostles, the Queen of Heaven and Earth, did not die. There is no basilica dedicated to her where her tomb rests below. There are no signs that Mary ever died. There is nothing documented in the early Church that would even second guess this remarkable fact. She fell asleep and was assumed into Heaven.
On November 1st, 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly declared: “By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Today is Mary’s feast day. Let us celebrate her birthday into Heaven. God’s glory is best revealed through his faithful followers, his saints. Mary is not just one of them; she is the model of all of them! She accepted her son, The Son, at an early age. She set aside her fears, her doubts, her name, her reputation to follow the love of her life. She did so faithfully, never looking back, never second guessing, and never assuming anything. She spoke little and did much. Although her heart was made of flesh, her will was made of steel! She may have been tiny in height, but she remains a giant in faith! She accepted her son; prepared her son; gave her son and followed her son till his death. The Lord would not allow her to go through a second death. Her tears were enough to convince her Son that she had had enough!
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.