Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

The Church gives us two feasts in the span of 8 days that are deeply connected. On Aug. 6 it was the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, and Aug. 15 is the Feast of the Assumption (of Mary into heaven).
I would first like to just state what each feast celebrates and then explain some theology behind them and the connection between the two.
The Transfiguration of Jesus commemorates the event that took place on Mount Tabor. Peter, James and John were present, and in fact St. Peter references in his second letter what happened on Mt. Tabor (2 Peter 1:16-19). The event itself is described in the Gospel of Matthew 17:1-9. Jesus became “transfigured” and His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as light. He was seen conversing with Moses and Elijah.
The Assumption of Mary is not contained in Scripture, but the teaching and Tradition of the Church is that Mary was kept free of corruption as she transitioned from this earthly life to her heavenly life, and that she was taken into heaven, body and soul.
There is much that could be said, but I would like to focus on what I think are the two central messages for our time. First, we are the union of body and soul. We are not a spirit inhabiting this body. The body is not something we put on and take off, like clothes. The body and soul together is what we are. At death there is a separation that occurs, but this separation is temporary and unnatural to us. By the way, I think this is why ghosts and zombies scare us. A ghost is a human spirit without a human body and a zombie is essentially a human body without a human soul. Both are abhorrent to us. We are the union.
Second, this body is not bad or evil. It is in fact good. Our bodies will be glorified and we will be unified again as body and soul at the resurrection of the dead. We see this glory in the transfiguration and we see in Mary’s Assumption that our bodies are destined for heaven. Mary’s Assumption is a promise of what is to come for us.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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