The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven on August 15th has given me an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful intellectual integrity of the Catholic faith.  For me, it is one of the most interesting aspects of being Catholic: I receive great consolation knowing that there is nothing that the Catholic faith has not explained or can explain if I look for the answers. 

I have often marveled at the wisdom of the teachings of the Church on all issues, but in recent history its ability to anticipate the findings of SCIENCE on every moral issue has been astonishing, even to devout Catholics like myself.  I expect the Church’s teachings to be true, but I am awed when I see reflections of these truths in often very surprising places. 

For example, in my lifetime the moral playing field shifted drastically, yet the Church foresaw the results of the sexual revolution before it even really got started.  The exploding divorce rate, rise of cohabitation (among people of all ages), the institutionalization of abortion as a necessity for modern living, the objectification of women in so many ways (eg modern advertising and TV), and the widespread acceptance of pornography were all part of the Church’s warnings.  Now, with the continual advances in science and the continued use of science to degrade the human person with “gender changes,” IVF, surrogate motherhood, and the like,  it is comforting to know that I can understand these issues through Church teachings.     

While I am so grateful that I am part of the Church and gratefully know that whatever the future brings, the Church will also have answers for any moral confusion, it is hard to be joyful for being “right” when society is suffering so much. 

But recently when thinking about the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, I realized there is something so wonderful that science has shown us that ties into the Assumption of Mary — something I can be truly joyful about!

In the past, medical doctors thought that the placenta was a one-way buffer that prevented anything from the baby in the womb from crossing into the mother, that only cells from the mother would cross into the baby to help him grow and develop.  Then, in the 19th century, they discovered that an unborn baby’s cells stay in the mother’s body after birth.

But new research is providing an even deeper understanding of this unique connection.

Scientists have found that cells from the fetus in the womb cross the placenta to actually enter into the mother’s body and that they become a permanent part of her body!  What a sweet thought that my children are still a part of me!  

But–even more amazing: the article reported that “when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or daughter, [but] an army of protective cells – gifts from her children that will stay inside her and defend her for the rest of her life.” (My emphasis in italics.)  Doctors have found the cells of babies actually rebuilding and healing the cells of their mothers–not just while the baby is in the womb, but they found these cells remain in the mother to serve her body even after the baby is born!

Just read this:

“The cells of an unborn child will stay in the mother for decades… essentially forever,” said a researcher from Thomas Jefferson University. “There’s a lot of evidence now starting to come out that these cells may actually be repairing tissue.”  Wow!  Here’s the article to read for yourself.

Think what this means: Our Lord left part of Himself with His mother–in order to protect her!   So the Blessed Virgin Mary’s body was not only composed of her own cells, but also due to her carrying Him in her womb, thereafter her body always contained the cells of Her Son — who was God! 

Our Lord protected His mother’s soul from every taint of sin, and He also acted to protect her body, as well.  Both with His Divine Power…as well as with the power He created in nature for every mother to benefit from!

The Bible says that God would not allow His Holy One, His Son to suffer corruption–so He ascended into Heaven instead of decomposing in the grave (see Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:31).  Wouldn’t this apply to ALL OF HIS SON, every last All-Holy and All-Divine cell?  Even those parts of Him that were–actually, physically–still on earth…in the body of His Blessed Mother?  Yet another reason for her glorious Assumption into Heaven as a fitting gift for bearing the Savior of the world in her womb! 

From every perspective, it is a joyful thought!  Science is now discovering so much that only confirms what the Church has already taught us by Faith: that the mother of Our Lord, who contained all her life in her body what the Second Person of the Trinity had come down from Heaven to assume–a fully human body united with God Himself!  — would out of justice and God’s mercy be taken up into Heaven, too, without suffering the decay of death. 

While this is not a theological explanation, it is sweet when we get a scientific perspective to aid our meditations and the pondering in our hearts about what we already know from the Church.  Astonishing on the one hand, but not unexpected!

May God bless you and all your little ones, who have left already left their “mark” on you!

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Kerri
Kerri is the co-founder of Holy Heroes and the creator of the “Adventures” they offer free online. She has graduate degrees in history and law. She now homeschools the five children still at home (having successfully sent the three oldest children off to college).

52 thoughts on “Wow: Science is now shedding light on the Assumption!

  1. Beautiful Analogy! I love it! Aquinas would be proud. A great philosophy and no reason why it can’t serve theology. It’s divine Providence both natural and supernatural explanations unless you’re blind to simplicity. I think a few over thinkers had commented on mercy but St. Faustina has given us a better understanding of divine mercy through her Revelations. They best read her diary and consult those theologians that help explain it on a higher level. As she said, no mortal or creature, heaven or earth can fathom God’s mercy…for all eternity I believe. All these thoughtful intellectuals forget that little children who spoke with the Blessed Mother have given us answers to many of their questions. “I am the Immaculate Conception” ( Lourdes) ‘O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee”.(Miraculous medal) What would Aquinas say about these today?

  2. In the Orthodox tradition which dates to way before Rome split from us, The Virgin Mary (Theotokos Mother or Birth Giver of God) “fell asleep” in death hence “dormition” her falling asleep and there was an incident where someone who hated Christianity tried to overturn her coffin as it was being taken to her grave, and his hand withered immediately or something like that (going from memory) all the Apostles were miraculously transported to her bedside at the time of her death. THEN she was resurrected by Jesus and taken bodily alive into heaven. In the west, at some point during the arguments for and against this doctrine, the idea started that she never actually died, perhaps a misunderstanding of “falling asleep” to mean she was taken to heaven during a nap, but this term means to die. the additional information surrounding this, her coffin and so forth, shows she did in fact die.

    This information was hidden for a few centuries until a church to her honor was being built, and relics of her were sought. Then the story went viral so to speak. no relics available as in no body parts because she was resurrected! And she told everyone to keep this a secret so she would not distract attention from Jesus Christ!

    that made sense, and explains why the Assumption was a local only tradition for a while and only became popularly known some centuries later.

    as for the chemical argument, you are forgetting that the same could be said of any of us who have eaten Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, and we all die.

    1. Hi, Justina! Actually, you are not correct regarding the “chemical” argument: a mother has a different relationship to a child than an eater has to his food. You do not have the DNA of everything you have ever eaten inside you, but you digest what you eat and turn it into YOUR DNA. I’m certain that you don’t seriously believe that your relationship to Christ because you have been fed His Glorious Body in Communion even remotely approaches the relationship which Our Blessed Mother has with Him Whom she gave a Body! Similarly, your history of Christian understanding and the theological contemplation over the centuries about the Assumption is incomplete and stretches some points too far. The anecdotes you relate are neither dogma nor doctrine, nor have they ever been defined as infallible truth of what happened. Interesting, possible, but not every story told somewhere by someone in the past is reliably accurate. No Church leader ever claims such a thing. The truth is that the Church has never defined whether Mary died or not, and “dormition” as a word has never been considered to necessarily mean death nor lack of death–to either theologians of Eastern or Western wings of the Church. God bless!

  3. Matthew 18:2-4. Intellectuals beating their heads against concrete with this! Mary had to be sinless to carry our God and Savior in her womb! I always knew that the one thing our Heavenly Father hates is sin because it separates us from Him. How could a regular, sinful woman carry our precious Lord, and Savior, the Architect of the universe in her womb?!! She was created for this purpose! She had to be sinless, and remain so the rest of her life!

  4. This is beautifully written.
    Awesome information.
    Thank you thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    Of course He left Her part of Himself. Makes perfect sense.
    Awesome!
    Emily Davis

  5. Now, let’s discuss how Father provides new life for us all, with Mary as our Mother. Does science enquire what “gift” is? As we consume Christ’s body and blood, are we also transmigrating with Him into Eternal Life with the Father? Is this sinlessness we partake of, as, our sinfulness, or fallen nature, is likewise being consumed by our Christ? Thank you, person of Mary, for your humble invisibility in your Son.

    1. Some of it came from Thomas Jefferson University. Did you notice the yellow highlighted link in the article?

  6. So beautiful and marvelous!

    I have heard that the disaster of contraception creates a similar problem. Maybe someone can give me a medical reference.

    When a man and woman copulate the fluids transferred among them not only carry the seed of a new human being, but enzymes that entice a bond between the two nature designed for the development, nurture and protection of the product of their love.

    We sure take a lot for granted playing god.

  7. It’s very interesting to think about, but I don’t see how this makes the Assumption of Mary necessary, or how justice or mercy would be the reasons for the Assumption?

    1. BVM not only was spiritually united to her Son but physically as well where her Son’s DNA became a part of her own.

      1. I understand that, but the virtue of justice is where someone is owed something, and that thing is given to them. The virtue of mercy mitigates justice when the thing that is owed is punitive in some way, and the punishment is waived. No human being is owed entry to heaven

        1. Amy–you are incorrect in your definition of mercy. You define it as opposed to justice, but since God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful, you see that such an opposition is simply impossible. Mercy, in fact, is a special type of LOVE, specifically love when it acts to relieve suffering. God’s love is perfect and transforming; He actually relieves human suffering on this earth to transform a person into His son or daughter–through the power of His Love which doesn’t “mitigate” things or oppose justice to persons, but actually transforms and elevates. St Thomas goes into detail about human and Divine Mercy, with an excerpt from his definition of the virtue of “mercy” in his great Summa Theologiae (ST II-II.30.1) as “the compassion in our hearts for another person’s misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to help him.” We are moved to want to help; God’s mercy goes farther in that what He can do to help is not limited.

          1. Ken, that’s one meaning of mercy, but that’s the virtue of mercy in us. The part of the Summa that you’re referencing is where Aquinas discusses the virtues, but it’s in the Prima Pars (ST I) that he discusses God. In question 21 he discusses justice and mercy in God: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1021.htm

            What is impossible to say is that anyone goes to heaven from necessity, and even less to say that anyone – including the Blessed Mother – is or will be assumed from necessity. The document on the Assumption says that it is “fitting” but never says that it’s “necessary” because only God is necessary, strictly speaking.

          2. Hi, Amy–we’re in hearty agreement on the essential point this blog author was expressing: that new findings from science reinforce that the Assumption is “fitting.” However, you misunderstand what I wrote (and what Aquinas wrote) regarding justice and mercy by substituting “necessity” now into the discussion. You initially defined mercy as being in opposition to justice, but that is not true. The link you provided to Aquinas’ own discussion of justice and mercy in God illustrates this point. In fact, Aquinas defines mercy as I quoted him. Then, he built upon that definition to explain how God manifests mercy, but Aquinas does not create a different definition of mercy for God; in other words, he uses the same definition of mercy to explain God and man without claiming that we are the same being (ie we have an “affective” aspect of mercy due to our feelings as well as an “effective” aspect when we actually act to relieve suffering, while God’s mercy is only “effective,” but the same definition of mercy as a manifestation of love applies). Aquinas is very clear that justice and mercy are NOT in opposition and SHOULD NOT be in opposition for men (Aquinas said, “Justice without mercy is cruel” AND that “mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution”), just as he was emphatic that IN GOD justice and mercy are in complete union: “The work of divine justice [that is God’s justice] always presupposes the work of mercy and is based on it.” The part of the Summa in your link thoroughly explains this. So, whom God takes to Himself in Heaven is not from necessity, but neither does He bring anyone to Heaven IN OPPOSITION TO His justice. Everyone He brings to Heaven is completely consistent with BOTH His merciful love AND His justice. That, in fact, is what this blog author was expressing: that in yet another way, we can ponder how the Assumption was “fitting.” Thanks for all your thought and input in this discussion! By the way, here is an excellent article about the relationship of mercy and justice according to Aquinas: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4304/the_relationship_of_mercy_and_justice_according_to_st_thomas_aquinas.aspx

          3. Ken, let me give you an example that might help clarify what I’m saying. A person who commits a mortal sin is deserving of spending eternity in hell. Through the sacrament of reconciliation, God offers us forgiveness and the opportunity to go to heaven instead of hell so if that person receives forgiveness in the confessional and then dies in a state of grace he would end up in heaven instead of hell. Going to hell would be an act of justice because being guilty of committing a mortal sin requires that the person (use of intellect) know that the action taken is a grave matter but still consents (use of free will) to the action. In extending His mercy in the sacrament of confession that act of justice is not carried out because of His extension of His mercy that was received by the sinner. How can we say this is a just action when justice was not served?

            Yes, of course God is both just and merciful, but our ability to understand how He can be both without contradiction is impossible from this side of heaven. We know *that* it’s true, but it’s not until we’re in heaven or at the second coming that we’ll see how they are reconciled in God. It’s especially difficult because without justice, there can be no such thing as mercy. If we don’t know what is owed to a person, we can’t offer the person the sympathy of mercy. We don’t offer mercy to blades of grass when people mow their lawn or to weeds that killed because they’re not owed their existence or a standard of care.

            As for the article, it has some great fodder for contemplation but the problem arises with some of the conclusions. The cells that Jesus gave to the Blessed Mother were the cells that she gave Him in the first place. They are part of His humanity, not His divinity. It is *through* His humanity that we are saved, but it is *by* His divinity that we receive salvation. The reason His body remained uncorrupted was because of the hypostatic union, and neither the Blessed Mother nor the cells that He left behind in her were part of that. To say that those cells needed to be assumed into heaven and that’s why she was assumed is a problem. As someone else pointed out, what would that say about all of the cells He shed during His 33 years on earth?

            To say that the Blessed Mother “would out of justice and God’s mercy be taken up into Heaven, too, without suffering the decay of death” is a problem. How would this serve justice and how would this serve mercy? If it’s a matter of justice then heaven would be something that she’s entitled to and that God owes to her, which can’t be said of any creature. If it’s a matter of mercy, then it must be something she is not entitled to but was given from the grace of God.

            An act of mercy? Of course. An act of justice? No.

          4. Hi, Amy–the confusion is based on an incorrect definition of mercy (your definition, not the definition of St Thomas nor of the Catholic Church). Starting from an error (these definitions) you reason to erroneous conclusions. For example, a confusion about God being all-just, because you want to attribute injustice to some of His actions (such as in your example when you try to claim that justice is not served when God raises someone to Heaven). Quite simply, God does NOT act unjustly when He does not send anyone who has ever committed a mortal sin to Hell. How is this not unjust? Because through the REAL ACTION of the Sacrament of Confession, that mortal sin is not just ignored but actually FORGIVEN–which is a REAL TRANSFORMATION in the soul of the sinner. God is love and His love acts as mercy when it touches someone who is suffering–and God’s love actually TRANSFORMS people. It is what truly happens through God’s Grace that you are not grasping and what St Thomas explains in his discussions on both justice and mercy. You misunderstand justice and mercy as being opposed because you have created a definition of both which is not accurate. Ponder and pray on this a bit more, and use St Thomas’ definitions of justice and mercy instead of your own, which sets them up as opposing each other.

          5. Sorry to have to end my part in this discussion at this point. You don’t need “my explanation” but can think with the mind of the Church by reading Aquinas, Question 21, article 1 & 2. Your dispute is not with my definitions, but with St Thomas’ definitions and explanations in those areas where your definitions don’t mesh with his (such as defining mercy as something which acts to prevent justice being served). Especially read Article 1, Reply to Objection 3 (which is essentially the objection you have to comprehending God’s justice). An excerpt to ponder: “God exercises justice, when He gives to each thing what is due to it by its nature and condition. …what is due to each thing is due to it as ordered to it according to the Divine Wisdom. …Justice, therefore, in God is sometimes spoken of as the fitting accompaniment of His goodness; sometimes as the reward of merit.” That is what the author of this blog post was bringing to mind: how God has ordered all things in His wisdom, even down to the tiniest details regarding the relationship of a mother to her child, including the mother of God. And as we ponder what we learn through science we receive insights into the mind of God and His Providence. May God bless you!

          6. Amy–ponder the Summa, question 21 on the justice and mercy of God, articles 3 & 4 being the ones the most bearing on this discussion. Article 3 directly refutes the confusion you’ve raised when Aquinas specifically says the “God acts mercifully, NOT INDEED by going against His justice.” That is the error in your definition of mercy–that is it “mitigating” what is truly owed in justice. Article 4–Aquinas discusses that you need to understand that what is “due to creatures…[is] something pre-existing in them…something that precedes.” In other words, you need to look at what God gave the creatures in the beginning, then see how His mercy following the suffering of the Fall results in something that Aquinas terms “more than justice” to His creatures (as He does man through the Savior–and most especially through what the Savior did for the Blessed Virgin), but not (as in your example) concluding that God’s “act of justice is not carried out because of His extension of His mercy.” That is quite simply not true, as Aquinas explains (and elsewhere in his discussions of the Sacraments I’m certain you’ll find more to ponder). Again, justice and mercy are not opposed, so to define them as being in opposition (or “mitigating” each other) is the error that leads to more errors in conclusions. Thanks, again, for your thoughtfulness in this discussion!

  8. Mary was conceived without sin – that’s why the Church has declared her “The Immaculate Conception”.

  9. Most blessed Mother. I love my Catholic Faith. Thank you for sharing.always wanting more understanding and knowledge of the faith.Blessings for all you bring to us.

  10. How about the cells that splattered all over the ground during the scourging? was it resurrected too? The blood that flowed from his side, the blood on the lance, the cross, the burial cloth. They contain cells of our Lord. Where they resurrected too?

    1. Hi, Janus, Some confusion here that the dogma of the Assumption of Mary means she was “resurrected,” but the Church has not said that; Pope Saint John Paul II commented specifically on that (see other comments on this post–we quoted his comment). If you think about it: Our Lord’s cells inside His mother would be ALIVE, while those shed for our sins onto the ground would not be. However, all the relics with His Blood on them (Shroud of Turin comes quickly to mind, crown of thorns, nails from the Cross, and so on) are treated very reverently and venerated.

  11. This is why I love science. I’ve been arguing this for about a year or so. It’s called Fetal Chimerism. This science also defends Mary’s Ever-Virgin status because the cells the author refers to also travels back through the placenta to siblings. Only first born are free from siblings cells.

    1. Awesome! Science is in the process of catching up to the truth of Sacred Scripture and
      the Faith. Science is also a work in progress and is limited by man.

  12. Hi, Peg–In answer to your question: The Church, of course, supports the Assumption. Science now shows that cells from a baby in the womb remain in the mother’s body essentially permanently. This post takes these two facts and muses on what they mean for the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son, who shared our nature in everything but sin, including how He developed in the womb. The Church has not made any statement.

  13. The life is in the blood, everyone from Adam has a sinful nature because of sin and sin is in the blood. Science has shown us that the blood of a baby comes from the father alone, that’s why we are born with a sinful nature and only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us and make us clean. sin is in the blood and not in the flesh, the blood of Jesus came from His Father, that is why He lived a sinless life. If u claim mary was sinless why didnt she die on the cross for u

    1. Hi, again, Chrys–I hope this can help clear up some confusion for you. Mary was saved from sin by Her Savior (and ours) but in a different fashion than we are: she was saved BEFORE she was conceived to protect her from all sin–that’s why she was praised God as her savior. Only God can atone for sin, so no matter what human person dies on the Cross, he or she can’t erase our sin. God died on the Cross for us (and for her). You have some inaccurate ideas about where human blood comes from (and neither science nor the Bible back you up): it comes from both a human father and a human mother, or, in the case of Jesus, all of His human body came from His mother since God the Father has no body. Science shows us that a person’s blood is composed of DNA that has come from both parents, hence some blood diseases are passed on by the father, and some blood diseases by the mother.

    2. Children carry their mothers blood type although the fathers rh factor can be carried forward. So my mom was A+ and I am A- because my father was O-.

  14. I appreciated the special and profound Marian insights.
    Blessings on your teaching and reaching-out apostolate.

  15. This is a very specious argument, do not be deceived, none of what you are saying can be supported by scripture, Mary is a wonderful lady(a human), Jesus is divine that’s why He lived a sinless life, Jesus had no sin so He never prayed for forgiveness or offered sin offerings, mary offered sin offerings for atonement after the birth of Jesus, Mary also said my soul rejoiceth in God my saviour, why does she need a saviour if there’s nothing to be saved from (sin). Thank you

    1. You don’t believe in the Immaculate Conception? She was saved from sin materially and physically and so Jesus did not inherit original sin from his mother.

    2. Hi, Chrys–I see some confusion in your comments about what the Assumption means and how Scripture supports it. Yes, Mary needed a savior, and she praised Him for saving her! Among the various Biblical support for Mary’s Assumption, the easiest way is Revelation 12, in which the Apostle John describes actually seeing her bodily in Heaven! Here’s the document explaining even more (an enlightening read): http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html

      1. I still dare anyone of u to provide me with biblical backing for the teaching of the so called assumption of Mary. Is your pope your spiritual authority or is God your spiritual authority, look carefully and objectively you’ll definiitely see what the catholic church teaches is contrary to what the bible says. We have our brains, i suggest we use them

        1. I hope this helps..

          http://www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption

          The Assumption

          The doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps others had been before her. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what the Assumption is not. Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.

          The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not in fact die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, “after the completion of her earthly life” (note the silence regarding her death), “was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

          The possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: “[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called “paradise,” where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven.

  16. Beautiful…our Catholic faith has so much to offer! What a gift to be a part of it!

  17. This truly is an awesome reflection! But I also wonder about St. Anne, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s mother. Mary would have left some of her cells in her mother’s body. If Mary’s body would not suffer corruption, would not ALL of her, like her son, Jesus? But St. Anne’s body is not in Heaven (that we know of). Ah, the wonderful mysteries of life and Heaven!

  18. but we still get sick and die. How does that figure with the fact that our babies’ cells are protecting us even forever?

    1. Hi, Mary–in answer to your question: Your baby’s cells don’t make your body immortal; your baby’s body isn’t immortal, either.

        1. Hi, Gary–actually, the Church has not declared whether the Blessed Mother died or not. She definitely would not have died as a consequence of Original Sin, because she was protected from that and all sin. Over the centuries, however, many have argued that she did die (just as her son, Our Lord, chose to die), but recently Pope Saint John Paul II noted: “…in defining the dogma of the Assumption, Pius XII avoided using the term ‘resurrection’ and did not take a position on the question of the Blessed Virgin’s death as a truth of faith.” More can be found here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/the-assumption-of-mary-12-things-to-know-and-share2

  19. What a wonderful point of information, not only for me ,but to share with my other non catholic christians. Also a sweet thought for me since my son has gone home before me. I still literally carry him within me!

  20. Wow!!!! I always believed there was more to Mary and what was said of her prior to my conversion to the Catholic Church. She was more than just the available vessel: she was a prepared vessel, a holy vessel and a protected vessel. Hail Mary! Full of Grace.

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