What’s the difference between the Ascension and the Assumption?

May 9, 2022

Because so many of you enjoyed our Lenten Box questions, we have decided to continue asking clergy to respond weekly to questions pertaining to the Catholic faith. This week Father Juan Osorno of St. Mary Parish, Rockledge answers the question:

The essential difference is that in the Ascension, Jesus ascends of His own power and will
because He is divine. On the other hand, Mary does not raise herself. God raises her; she is taken up to heaven. The Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of the Lord are two different events but at the same time, both of them indicate a way of elevation for us, human and spiritual, to which we are all called. The beauty of these callings is that they invite interior growth, renovation and transformation in our lives. Furthermore, these celebrations of our Church remind us that “death” is not the end of our human story. Death is just a transition to the true life with God, life eternal in the fullness of God’s love. For us to better discern this call, it is necessary to look deeply into each of these events.

At the end of Mary’s life on earth, Mary is taken up to heaven in body and soul. She, who never knew sin, was assumed into heaven and never experienced corruption. Mary, as the new Eve, fulfilled God’s plan from the beginning of creation. Mary always lived perfectly in the will of God. The handmaid of the Lord has laid down for us the perfect model of discipleship that we may follow. We are called to live in the will of God and we don’t have to do this alone; she is there to help us.

The Ascension is not a separation of Jesus from our reality here on earth. On the contrary, as Jesus ascends into heaven to be at the right hand of God the Father, He is bringing together heaven and earth so the Glory of God may shower us more fully. Finally, the purpose of this closeness between heaven and earth is the commissioning of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, to continue the work of Jesus. The Church is called to be a missionary Church.

By Father Juan Osorno, parochial administrator of St. Mary Parish, Rockledge – May 11, 2022