How Did The Virgin Mary Die?

This is what John Paul II says, St. John Damascene and the tradition of the Church

Did the Blessed Virgin Mary die? How and from what did he die? They are, by the way, quite complicated questions, and that for years have been made from the holy fathers of the Church, to the most exalted theologians and current mariologists.

A subject that surely was a matter of discussion after Pius XII declared the dogma of the Assumption, because in the end, out of prudence, he did not pronounce definitively on the death or not of Mary: she never clarified whether she was a member after dying and being resurrected, or if she was transferred to heaven in body and soul without going through the trance of death.

But an excellent clarification on the subject was made by Saint John Paul II in the magnificent catechesis of the audience on June 25, 1997. Based on this, we offer a summary in several points:


1. If Christ died, it would be difficult to argue the opposite as regards his mother.

San Juan Damasceno asks himself: “How is it possible that she who in childbirth exceeded all the limits of nature, now fold to her laws and her immaculate body submits to death ?. And he replies: “Certainly, it was necessary that he strip himself of the mortal part in order to put on immortality, since the Lord of nature did not avoid the experience of death either.

In effect, he dies according to the flesh and with his death destroys death, transforms corruption into incorruptibility and death into a source of resurrection “( Panegírico sobre la dormición de la Madre de Dios , 10: SC 80, 107).


2. To participate in the resurrection of Christ, Mary was to share, first of all, death.

The fact that Mary was liberated because of her divine condition of original sin, which every human being carries, does not mean that she also received bodily immortality. The Mother is not superior to the Son, who accepted death, giving it new meaning, and transforming it into an instrument of salvation. And to participate in the resurrection of Christ, Mary was to share, first of all, death.


3. The death of Mary could be conceived as a “dormant”

The New Testament does not give any information about the circumstances of Mary’s death. This silence induces us to suppose that it occurred normally, without any (extraordinary) fact worthy of mention.

Whatever may have been the organic and biological fact that, from the physical point of view, has produced death, it can be said that the transition from this life to the other was for Mary a maturation of grace in glory.

The illustrious mariologist Garriguet wrote these beautiful words; “Maria died without pain, because she lived without pleasure; without fear, because he lived without sin; without feeling, because he lived without earthly attachment.

His death was similar to the decline of a beautiful afternoon, it was like a sweet and peaceful sleep; it was less the end of a life than the dawn of a better existence. To designate it, the Church found a charming word: the dream (or sleep) of the Virgin.


4. The experience of death enriched the Virgin

Some Fathers of the Church describe Jesus himself who is going to receive his Mother at the moment of death, to introduce her into the celestial glory. Thus, they present the death of Mary as an event of love that led her to reunite with her divine Son, to share with him the immortal life.

In this way the Virgin, having passed through the common destiny of all men, is able to exercise more effectively her spiritual motherhood with respect to those who arrive at the supreme hour of life.

Saint Francis de Sales considers that the death of Mary occurred as an effect of an impetus of love. He speaks of a death “in love, because of love and for love”, and that is why he comes to affirm that the Mother of God died of love for her son Jesus.



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