The title Holy Mother of God denotes the reason for all the other titles and privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In these reflections for the month of May John Henry Newman looks to one of the privileges, Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, body and soul. The Church has not defined that Mary died before her Assumption; instead She holds that at the end of her life on earth the Virgin Mary was taken to Heaven.
Newman held the belief that she did die and was raised to life by God. After asserting this he considers that after the Resurrection of Christ many prophets and holy men and women rose from their tombs. He asks: “it is not to be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to His own Mother.” Thus we can confidently believe that “our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by His Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.”
Mary, Sancta Dei Genetrix, we venerate you as the Mother of God, and rejoice at your Assumption into Heaven. Next to your Son intercede for the Church.
Mary is the “Sancta Dei Genetrix,” the Holy Mother of God
AS soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Die she must, and die she did, as her Divine Son died, for He was man; but various reasons have approved themselves to holy writers, why, although her body was for a while separated from her soul and consigned to the tomb, yet it did not remain there, but was speedily united to her soul again, and raised by our Lord to a new and eternal life of heavenly glory.
And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this—that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to His own Mother.
We are told by St. Matthew, that after our Lord’s death upon the Cross “the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had slept”—that is, slept the sleep of death, “arose, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection, came into the Holy City, and appeared to many.” St. Matthew says, “many bodies of the Saints”—that is, the holy Prophets, Priests, and Kings of former times—rose again in anticipation of the last day.
Can we suppose that Abraham, or David, or Isaias, or Ezechias, should have been thus favoured, and not God’s own Mother? Had she not a claim on the love of her Son to have what any others had? Was she not nearer to Him than the greatest of the Saints before her? And is it conceivable that the law of the grave should admit of relaxation in their case, and not in hers? Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by His Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.
Meditations and Devotions, see www.newmanreader.org