Tag Archives: Ascension

The Ascension of the Lord

On … “reflection on the meaning of the Ascension is found in this phrase: Jesus took his place. After having undergone the humiliation of his passion and death, Jesus took his place at the right-hand of God; he took his place with his eternal Father. But he also entered heaven as our Head. Whereupon, in the expression of Leo the Great, the glory of the Head became the hope of the body. For all eternity Christ takes is place as the firstborn among many brethren: our nature is with God in Christ. And as man, the Lord Jesus lives for ever to intercede for us with Father. At the same time, from his throne of glory, Jesus sends out to the whole Church a message of hope and a call to holiness.

“Because of Christ’s merits, because of his intercession with the Father, we are able to attain justice and holiness of life, in him. The Church may indeed experience difficulties, the Gospel may suffer setbacks, but because Jesus is at the right-hand of the Father the Church will never know defeat. Christ’s victory is ours. The power of the glorified Christ, the beloved Son of the eternal Father, is superabundant, to sustain each of us and all of us in the fidelity of our dedication to God’s Kingdom and in the generosity of our celibacy. The efficacy of Christ’s Ascension touches all us in the concrete reality of our daily lives. Because of this mystery it is the vocation of the whole Church to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

“Dear sons, be imbued with the hope that is so much a part of the mystery of the Ascension of Jesus. Be deeply conscious of Christ’s victory and triumph over sin and death. Realize that the strength of Chist is greater than our weakness, greater than the weakness of the whole world. Try to understand and share the joy that Mary experienced in knowing that her Son had taken his place with his Father, whom he loved infinitely. And renew your faith today in the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has gone to prepare a place for us, so that he can come back again and take us to himself.

St John Paul, Ascension Thursday, 1979

Between Ascension and Pentecost

Last SupperIn the period between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday the Church gives us a reminder that we are to follow the key example of communion there is, the communion (unity) between God the Father and God the Son. Saint Cyril of Alexandria tells us that the unity of Father and Son is known in the Last Supper.

Cyril said,  “Who could separate those who are united to Christ through that one sacred body, or destroy their true union with one another? If we all share one loaf we all become one body, for Christ cannot be divided.”

I am grateful for this reminder in a time when there is so much division in our country, Church, and in our own hearts. The psalmist talks about the divided heart, the forked tongue; the spiritual masters speak against gossip (murmuring) and the seeds of division. Do we allow negativity and fear to rule our lives? Sadly, no seems to be free of the divisions caused by sin: not the laity, certainly not the clergy, not business people, not healthcare professionals and not the politicians and the like.

Only in Christ Jesus can we find our hope. Are we united to the Body of Christ –in sacrament, in Church, in family, with ourselves?

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Ascension detailIn the Gospel according to St. Mark we read:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Pope St. Leo the Great:
“Since the Ascension of Christ is our elevation, and since, where the glory of the Head has preceded its, there hope for the body is also invited, let us exult, dearly beloved, with worthy joy and be glad with a holy thanksgiving. Today we are estab­lished not only as possessors of Paradise, but we have even pen­etrated the heights of the heavens in Christ, prepared more fully for it through the indescribable grace of Christ which we had lost through the ill will of the devil.”

The Lord’s going to heaven

Today’s solemn feast of the Ascension Lord requires us to meditate on its meaning and place in our spiritual life these days leading up to the Pentecost. Here is an excerpt of a homily by Saint Augustine:

As he was about to ascend, he spoke the last words he was to utter on earth. At the moment of going up to heaven, the head commended to our care the members he was leaving on earth, and so departed. No longer will you find Christ speaking on earth; in the future he will speak from heaven. Why will he speak from heaven? Because his members are being trampled underfoot on earth. He spoke to Saul the persecutor from above, saying: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? I have ascended to heaven, but I still remain on the earth. Here at the Father’s right hand I sit, but there I still hunger and thirst and am without shelter’.

The Ascension of the Lord

The AscensionChrist above all glory seated!
King triumphant, strong to save!
Dying you have death defeated,
Buried, You have spoiled the grave.

You have gone where now is given
What no mortal might could gain,
On the eternal throne of heaven
In Your Father’s power to reign.

There your kingdoms all adore You
Heaven above and earth below;
While the depths of hell before You
Trembling and defeated bow.

We, O Lord, with hearts adoring,
Follow You beyond the sky;
Hear our prayers Your grace imploring,
Lift our souls to You on high!

So when You again in glory
On the clouds of heaven shall shine,
We Your flock may stand before You,
Owned forevermore as Thine.

Hail, all hail! In You confiding,
Jesus, we shall all adore,
In Your Father’s might abiding
With One Spirit evermore.
Amen.

-Aeterne Rex altissime
(5th century) Translated

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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