Did the Mother of God die?
I don't believe so. And here's why…
Her death would have caused irreparable harm to our relationship with her. That is to say, it would have caused an unnecessary psychological break in an otherwise intimate bond – a bond that reason tells us God would wish us to enjoy with our Mother; and which would ultimately be of a greater benefit to our spiritual life.
In short, the human mind has a tendency to perceive those who die as ultimately disconnected from the rest of us – and for good reason. In a sense, they are disconnected. They've passed over into another realm. Another dimension. They no longer live among us. They’re dead. And because of this, our psyche’s perception of them has irrevocably changed. Not only are they no longer with us here on earth – brothers and sisters under the same sky – but they are no longer even of the same nature as we are. This is an unavoidable fact, and the effect it has on the mind is irreversible. The result is a profound psychological break in an otherwise intimate bond.
This perceived loss of connection is perfectly natural, based as it is upon truth. And even though it could be somewhat lessened, it can never be reversed altogether. This is so true that even if one were to appear in a physical form after death, our perception would change very little in regard to the fact that they are disconnected from us. Our conviction that they are alive (in a sense) would undoubtedly be strengthened. Nevertheless, they would hardly achieve the intimate connection previously enjoyed with us here on earth.
This was one of the obstacles Christ faced after His resurrection, and I believe one of the reasons why He chose thereafter to appear numerous times in physical form to His Apostles and disciples. He was trying to bridge the gap, as it were. Remember what He said to them as He appeared in the upper room, "Spirits do not have flesh and bone as you see Me to have." No doubt He was trying to minimize the effect of His death on their psyche. He even sat down to eat in front of them in an attempt to strengthen their belief that He was real, alive, and at least to some degree still connected to them. Why else would He ask for something to eat? Certainly, His Glorified body no longer suffered from hunger. These repeated appearances in physical form following His resurrection were crucial, not only because they absolutely convinced the Apostles of His Divinity, but also because they assured them of the reality of His ongoing and intimate connection with them. It was of the utmost importance that they knew He would be right there with them, literally, until the end.
Again, the point is that the mind has a natural tendency to perceive a disconnection with one who has died. It's perfectly normal. And we all suffer from it. So now let's apply this unfortunate consequence to God's plan in regard to the Mother of God, and see if it benefits, or harms that plan.
Prior to The Fall, Adam and God walked and talked as friends in the Garden of Eden. Adam knew and understood God as closely as anyone could know Him. He knew God was gentle, humble, kind and infinitely generous with all that He had. The two were as close as any friends could possibly be. During this time, had someone warned Adam that he should be afraid of God, he would have laughed them to scorn. "Are you insane?", he would tell them. "Why on earth should I be afraid of God? He wants nothing but what is absolutely best for me.” And yet, after The Fall, what happened? Adam heard God walking in the Garden, and he was afraid. So much so, that he actually ran away and hid. What happened? Somehow, Adam no longer knew God as he did earlier. Now he was afraid of Him.
Unfortunately, mankind now shares in this same fearful attitude. Because of our sinful nature, we no longer know God. We too are afraid of Him. Nor, as long as we sin against Him, are we even capable of the intimate friendship once experienced by Adam in the Garden. This misconceived sense of fear in the presence of God – and unavoidable consequence of our Fallen Nature – is precisely why He has raised up a humble and gentle woman to be our intercessor, our Mother. And not just a mother, but the most humble, gentle, merciful, kind and generous mother who has ever lived. How could anyone be afraid of her? “Go to her”, God tells us. “You’re afraid of Me… let her be your refuge. Let her be your intercessor. When you sin, turn to her for mercy.”
Even before the creation of the world, God determined that Mary was not only going to be the Mother of His Son, but also the Mother of all the Elect as well. This has been her appointed destiny from all eternity. And not only was she to be our Mother, but also our protector, our guide, our hope, our refuge, and our greatest comfort. She is to be the dispenser of every grace we receive throughout our entire life. Moreover, she is the image of God’s Merciful Heart, and the very personification of His boundless love for man. Ultimately, she is the one person whom God has appointed as the means of consolation, sanctification, and salvation for all of His children.
Now we begin to understand why God would prefer we experience as intimate a connection with Mary as humanly possible – a connection that would be inevitably damaged had she died. In the end, let’s remember that everything God does is absolutely perfect. This reason alone should convince us that He would have preserved her from death. The benefits far outweigh any conceivable purpose in her dying. And even though she now resides in Heaven, and has certainly undergone a transformation in glory surpassing all the Saints and Angels combined; nonetheless, having never died, she remains intimately connected to us here on earth. In a very real sense, she is alive – and has never left us.