There are many theological accounts of Christ and His work of salvation that center almost solely upon the idea of Christ as a sacrifice on the Cross that pays the penalty of our sins (the doctrine of the Penal Substitutionary Atonement). This account tends to “stand on its own.” There is nothing inherent within Christ’s birth from a Virgin to such a view of the Atonement. Nor does the Virgin herself have any inherent connection to the saving acts of God as made known to us in the Scriptures. Thus those who profess her virginity in such cases only do so because it is recorded in the Scripture – but they do not do so because they understand its true role in our salvation.
However, our salvation is not achieved by an objective payment (even if the image of payment may be found in the Scriptures). The unifying teaching of the Scriptures with regard to Christ is our salvation through union with Him, through true communion in His life.
His Incarnation thus becomes a part of reality of God’s restoration of our communion with Him. He becomes a partaker of our life, that we might become partakers of His. This reality is made profoundly clear in that God not only comes to dwell among us, but comes to do so as a man, having taken flesh of the Virgin Mary. He becomes “flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone” (Ge. 2:23). And yet another image: “And a sword will pierce your own soul also” (Lk. 2:35). Mary is united to Christ in the flesh, and mystical in her soul as well.— Father Stephen Freeman, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (via affcath)
So, I know the Catholic Church has not dogmatically defined whether or not Mary died before being assumed into heaven, but Tradition seems to indicate that she did. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters also believe that she did.
Does anyone know of any theologian (whether in modern times or among the Church Fathers) who taught that she did not die? I don’t mean that they left it open, or said it wasn’t certain, but actually taught that she definitely did not die?
Got Questions About the Virgin Mary?
The Catholic Church has answers! Now in one convenient post, here are some quotes and articles that talk about what the Church believes about Mary and why.
In the course of history, there have been exaggerations in devotion to Mary, but it was not the Church that made her important; it was Christ Himself. The Church has never adored Mary, because only God can be adored. But she, of all creatures, was closest to God. Without her as the key, it is difficult to discover the treasures in the vault of Faith.
God who made the sun also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. The moon would be only a burned out cinder floating in the immensity of space, were it not for the sun. All its light is reflected from that glowing surface. In like manner, Mary reflects her Divine Son, without whom she is nothing. On dark nights we are grateful for the moon; when we see it shining we know there must be a sun. So, in this dark night of the world, when men turned their backs on Him Who is the Light of the World, we look to Mary to guide our feet while we await the sunrise.’— Archbishop Fulton Sheen (via jaycechandler)