So I love genetics. One, because I’m a nerd and studying it is a fun hobby for me. Two because I was born with certain genetic mutations and so I’ve had to learn about it for the sake of my kids.
Regardless, the issue of genetics came to mind this morning while praying the rosary. Specifically, the topic of Microchimerism.
Microchimerism is a big word that basically describes a situation where there are two genetically different types of cells living in one person’s body.
How does that happen? Pregnancy.
Fetal cells cross the placenta during pregnancy and enter the mother's bloodstream. What’s especially cool is that these fetal cells are like stem cells. After circulating in the bloodstream, they take up residence in the mother’s tissue. Like stem cells, they then grow into the same type of cells in the tissue surrounding them.
They can go to the liver and become liver cells. They can go to the spleen, pancreas, lungs, skin, or heart and become those cells. Fetal cells can even enter the brain and become neurons.
This was discovered several decades ago, when scientists found male DNA in female brains of mothers in their 70s who had sons.
So what’s all this genetic stuff have to do with my rosary?
Today, I was praying the Glorious mysteries. And it occurred to me that Microchimerism gives great credence to the doctrine of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.
A lot of people have problems with the idea that Mary was not buried in a tomb, but rather carried (assumed) into Heaven body and soul.
BUT…. Think about it. If scientists found that male DNA remains in female brains of mothers in their 70s, then Mary must have had the cells and DNA of Her Son, Jesus at the end of Her life. We know that She carried the God man in Her womb for nine months, but Microchimerism reveals that She continued to carry Him throughout Her entire life.
What does that have to do with the Assumption?
Well, can the cells of God (who is life) really decompose in a grave? Or in a tomb? The body of Jesus was not bound to the tomb, so could His DNA (still present in His Mother) really be bound to it? I’m inclined to think no.
And if no, then doesn’t that prove Mary must have been assumed into Heaven? It’s a tough case to argue.
Microchimerism also opens us to a whole new outlook on Mary’s sanctity… but I’ll save for tomorrow.