The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 99.

l have already referred to the testimony of St. John Damascene with regard to the traditions concerning the presence of the Apostles at the death of our death. Lady. Some two centuries before St.

John Damascene wrote, St. Gregory of Tours gave the following account of what was in his day generally believed on the subject:

"After the wonderful glory of our Lord's Ascension had stirred up the minds of the Faithful to contemplate the things of heaven, the holy Apostles of our Lord and Saviour, being gathered together with His Blessed Mother Mary into one house, had all things in common. Nor did anyone call anything his own, but (as we learn from the sacred writer of the Acts of the Apostles) each one possessed all things in charity. The Apostles afterwards were scattered abroad through different countries to preach the Word of God. When at length the Blessed Mary had fulfilled the course of this present life and was now to be called out of the world, all the Apostles were gathered together from their several regions to her house. And as they learned that she was to be taken from the world, together they watched with her. When behold the Lord Jesus came with His Angels, and receiving her soul committed it to the care of Michael the Archangel and departed. At daybreak the Apostles lifted her body with the couch, laid it in the sepulchre and watched by it, awaiting the coming of the Lord. And lo! the Lord stood by them once more, and commanded the holy body to be taken up and borne on a cloud to Paradise; where now united to the soul, and rejoicing together with the elect, it enjoys the good things of eternity which shall never come to an end." (De Mirac., i. 4.)

Catholics will feel differently with respect to these and similar traditions, concerning our Lady's death, the incidents of which are to be found in the writings of antiquity—such as that St. Thomas arrived after the other Apostles and received special proof of the wonder, that her body was raised on the third day after death—to liken her in this also to her Lord—that beautiful flowers were to be found growing miraculously where the holy body of Mary had rested, and the like. They may be purely legendary and symbolic, they may conceivably be true. About this there is no kind of certainty. But as regards the essential truth, we can use with confidence the words employed by Bossuet concerning the Immaculate Conception, in his day not yet defined—" Short of the certainty given by a Definition of the Church, no higher certainty can be imagined." This certainty is ours. Catholics believe that the immaculate body of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, far from lying in the darkness of any tomb, is glorious and resplendent amidst the splendours and the light of the Heaven where her Son is seated in His regal Majesty—clothed with the Humanity that was fashioned not out of nothing, but from the flesh and blood of a human Mother.