The Death of Our Lady (58)

This feast is more lovingly called “the Dormition” (the Sleep) of Our Lady. For although she really and truly died, Mary’s death lasted for only forty hours, the same length of time as Our Lord’s death. Then, with her body incorrupt, Mary was restored to life and was assumed, body and soul, into Heaven. The Apostles, with the exception of Saint James who had died, and of Saint Thomas who was brought later, were miraculously transported from the parts of the world where they were preaching to attend the death of Our Lady in Jerusalem, when she gave up her immaculate and spotless soul to God. Saint Timothy, Saint Denis the Areopagite and Saint Hierotheus, his friend, were also brought miraculously to Our Lady’s bedside. Jesus Himself came down from Heaven to assist at Our Lady’s death. Just before Mary died, Jesus gave her the Blessed Eucharist, the Body and Blood which she had given to Him when she conceived Him at Nazareth. Our Lady was buried reverently by the Apostles at the foot of the Mount of Olives, just below the place where Our Lord had sweat blood on the eve of His Passion. It was not far from the grave where Saint Lazarus had been buried and was raised from the dead by Jesus.

Mary’s soul, during the interval when her virginal body lay dead, was able to visit the souls in Purgatory so as to comfort and to release them, just as Our Lord’s soul, during the three days He lay dead, went to comfort the souls in the Limbo of the Just. Our Lady was seventy-two years old when she died.