Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion “by” faith we know them, but by “Understanding” we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts
Our hearts need to be fixed within the Liturgical Year. We can find rest and consolation and direction with and from the liturgy of the Church.
Every year I find myself with mixed emotions contemplating the Ascension. I always think the Apostles would have felt some sadness and they would have missed Jesus. They thought they had lost Him completely in His death on the cross, only to have the impossible and unthinkable of Him rising from the dead. Jesus was alive! For forty days Jesus appeared to them at various times. His presence wasn't the same as before, as He didn't eat and sleep and live with them anymore, but His resurrection and presence was even more of a gift. And then He gives them His final commission and ascends to the Father, not to return in an appearance with His glorified body. Did the Apostles sometimes hope He would appear, or did they know that this was the last time they would see Him? It feels like it should be a sad day, with the Apostles missing the human presence of Jesus.
But the Gospel for the Ascension clearly says:
They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God (Luke 24:53).The whole Ascension liturgy is filled with reference to joy and rejoicing. The Collect opens with Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving....The Responsorial Psalm from Psalm 47 is full of rejoicing:
with the Father in his majesty,
know with joy the fulfillment of his promise
to stay with you until the end of time.
We are preparing our hearts and homes (and atrium) for this great feast. I've written a few posts the provide more specifics in celebrating this feast: