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Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord: Forty Days After Easter

Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord

BenvenutoTisiDaGarofaloAscensionOfChristWGA08474 for post on the Ascension of Our Lord: Forty Days after Easter

Forty Days After Easter

Presence of God – O Jesus, who ascended into heaven, grant that I, too, may live there in spirit.

MEDITATION

The central idea in the liturgy today is the raising of our hearts toward heaven, so that we may begin to dwell in spirit where Jesus has gone before us. “Christ’s Ascension,” says St. Leo, “is our own ascension; our body has the hope of one day being where its glorious Head has preceded it” (Roman Breviary). In fact, Our Lord had already said in His discourse after the Last Supper, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be” (John 14:2,3). The Ascension is, then, a feast of joyful hope, a sweet foretaste of heaven. By going before us, Jesus our Head has given us the right to follow Him there some day, and we can even say with St. Leo, “In the person of Christ, we have penetrated the heights of heaven” (Roman Breviary). As in Christ Crucified we die to sin, as in the risen Christ we rise to the life of grace, so too, we are raised up to heaven in the Ascension of Christ. This vital participation in Christ’s mysteries is the essential consequence of our incorporation in Him. He is our Head; we, as His members, are totally dependent upon Him and intimately bound to His destiny. “God, who is rich in mercy,” says St. Paul, “for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us … hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up … and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). Our right to heaven has been given us, our place is ready; it is for us to live in such a way that we may occupy it some day. Meanwhile, we must actualize the beautiful prayer which the liturgy puts on our lips: “Grant, O almighty God, that we, too, may dwell in spirit in the heavenly mansions” (Collect). “Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also” (Matthew 6:21), Jesus said one day. If Jesus is really our treasure, our heart cannot be anywhere but near Him in heaven. This is the great hope of the Christian soul, so beautifully expressed in the hymn for Vespers: “O Jesus, be the hope of our hearts, our joy in sorrow, the sweet fruit of our life” (Roman Breviary).

COLLOQUY

O my God, O my Jesus, You are going away and leaving us! Oh! what joy there will be in heaven! But we have to remain here on earth. O eternal Word, what has Your creature done for You, that You should do so much for him and then ascend into heaven to glorify him even more? Tell me, what has he done for You, that You should love him so much? What has he given You? What do You look for in him? You love him so much that You give Yourself to him, You who are all things, and besides whom there is nothing. You want from him his entire will and intellect because when he gives them to You, he gives You all that he has. O infinite Wisdom, O supreme Good, O Love, O Love so little known, little loved, and possessed by so few! Oh! our ingratitude, cause of every evil! O Purity, so little known and so little desired! O my Spouse, now that You are in heaven, seated at the right hand of the eternal Father, create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).

Alas! how long this exile is, O Lord, and how the desire to see You makes it seem longer still! O Lord, what can an imprisoned soul do?… I want to please You. Behold me, Lord! If I have to live longer in order to serve You further, I refuse none of the crosses which may await me on earth. But alas, Lord, alas! These are but words; I am capable of nothing else. Permit my desires, at least, to have some value in Your sight, O my God, and do not regard my lack of merit!

Ah! my works are poor, my God, even if I could perform many! Then why should I remain in this life, so full of misery? Only to do Your will. Could I do anything better than that? Hope, therefore, my soul, hope. Watch carefully, for you know not the day nor the hour. Everything passes quickly, even though your desire makes a short time seem very long. Remember that the more you struggle, the greater the proofs of love you will be giving to your God, and afterward, the more you will enjoy your Beloved in happiness and felicity without end” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 15).

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Note from Dan: These posts are provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art for this post on the Ascension of Our Lord, which takes place forty days after Easter: Ascension of Christ, Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo, between 1510 and 1520, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Jeanette

    “Hail thee, festival day! Blest day to be hallowed forever; day when our Lord was raised, rose in the heavens to reign.” This quote is from the hymn: Hail Thee, Festival Day!” What a joyful thought that Jesus is in Heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. O come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth!

    • LizEst

      …and we, as the members of the Body of Christ, are already there with him in Spirit!

      Thanks Jeanette. God bless you!

    • Valerie Saldanha

      Love the quote.

  • rocky marciano

    God bless you Dan. here, from the Amazon Region in Brazil, I pray Jesus to Protect you and your family. Peace!!

    • Delighted to hear from you. How did you find out about this site?

      • rocky marciano

        I was looking for spiritual consolation. I am reading The Book of Life, from Teresa of Avila. Then I decided to look for something alike in the internet catholic sites. Your was greatly helpful to me. God Bless you.

        • Great! Have you had a chance to review our work at the Avila Institute? We provide courses for folks all over the world.

          • rocky marciano

            Not yet, but i’ll do it. Thanks for your kindness.

  • djnforce9

    “The Ascension is, then, a feast of joyful hope, a sweet foretaste of heaven.”

    This is very real to me. I believe that aligning yourself with God’s ways allows positive events in your life begin to fall into place far more frequently. Day-to-day problems will no longer weigh on you because you know the lord is always giving you the tools to move forward.

    Most people do not realize that this or they are held back by doubt or sin preventing them from seeing God’s word clearly. Life is meant to be enjoyed and working towards that by always doing your best and not giving up when things seem hopeless will allow God to let you you reach that ideal.

  • Jeanette

    Contemplating the 2nd Glorious Mystery of the Rosary on the Ascension of our Lord has always been a sweet joy for me. Imagine the immense joy of our Lord on ascending into Heaven to our Father! May God bless our meditation of the Ascension of our Lord with a greater desire to be with Him in Heaven.

    A quote from this post: “Everything passes quickly, even though your desire makes a short time seem very long. Remember that the more you struggle, the greater the proofs of love you will be giving to your God, and afterward, the more you will enjoy your Beloved in happiness and felicity without end” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 15).

    So rejoice if you have been blessed with a deep yearning to be in Heaven now. Rejoice if you are impatient to be with the Lord now. You have been blessed abundantly by God with this holy desire. If you don’t have this desire, pray for it. We can offer this frustration of our holy desire to the Lord for His purposes. The best proof of our love is to desire what Jesus desires… to love Him more fully by putting ourselves last and completing our mission here on earth. “Christ’s Ascension,” says St. Leo, “is our own ascension; our body has the hope of one day being where its glorious Head has preceded it” (Roman Breviary).

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