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Ascension Thursday

Baruch, Chapter 6, Verse 14

Each has in its right hand an ax or dagger, but it cannot save itself from war or pillage. Thus, it is known they are not gods; do not fear them.

Baruch who was the scribe of Jeremiah argues against the temptation to worship Babylonian gods. He sets forth reasons such as they are weak, helpless, attended by unworthy ministers who use these frightening gods with weapons to enslave and control the masses and in like manner the priests frightened the Jews into condemning Christ. To this Peter testifies, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.” (Act 3:13-15) Christ now compels us-Do not fear. We are blessed because we are the receivers of the apex of God’s graces through Jesus Christ and He has given us His own mother as our mother. Even greater is the salvation we have received via the action of Divine Mercy.

If you are afraid to start again or are discouraged by failure it is because you do not understand you can do nothing without Christ. Therefore, if you have sinned go to confession and receive His Body and Blood: being renewed.

I remember in 2006 when I and my wife Mary were blessed with being able to make a trip to Israel. I was reflecting upon the graces I had received. I was thanking the Lord for I had touched the spot on the earth where He was born, and I had touched the spot where He had died, and I had touched the spot where He had ascended into heaven. I was prideful and thought how lucky am I. Then my Lord reminded me that a greater grace still awaits me and everyone in the Holy Eucharist. Be honest, humble yourself and make a sincere effort. Leave all else in His hands-saying: Jesus I Trust in You! Pride wants immediate success. Be brave and renew your intentions, make a resolution daily to do the will of God and seek to please Him.

Aids in Battle[1]The Power of Christ’s Blood


This Blood, if rightly received, drives away demons and keeps them far away from us, while it calls to us both angels and the Lord of angels. For wherever they see the Lord’s Blood, demons flee, and angels run to gather together. For this Blood, poured forth, washed clean all the world.  .  .  . Those who share this Blood stand with angels and archangels and the heavenly powers above, clothed in Christ’s own kingly robe, and having the armor of the Spirit. In fact, greater than everything I have yet described is this: Those who share this Blood are clothed with the King Himself. ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM


Feast of the Ascension[2]


AT the Introit of the Mass the Church sings the words spoken by the angels to the apostles when Jesus ascended to heaven: “Ye men of Galilee, why wonder ye, looking up to heaven? Alleluia. He shall so come as you have seen Him going up into heaven, alleluia! alleluia! alleluia! Oh, clap your hands, all ye nations, shout unto God with the voice of joy.”

Prayer. Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who believe that Thy only begotten Son, our Redeemer, ascended this day into heaven, may ourselves also, in mind, dwell in heavenly things.

EPISTLE. Acts i. 1-11.

The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom He had chosen, He was taken up: to whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard, saith He, by my mouth : for John, indeed, baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. They therefore who were come together asked Him, saying: Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

But He said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in His own power. But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had said these things, while they looked on, He was raised up: and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they were beholding Him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments, who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven?

This Jesus Who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven.

Explanation. For forty days after His resurrection, Jesus remained with His disciples, to convince them of the truth of His resurrection, to teach them in regard to His kingdom, that is, His Church, and their vocation ; and as they were still thinking of an earthly kingdom to be established by Christ, He referred them to the instruction of the Holy Ghost, and then ascended to heaven, whence He shall come to be our judge. Rejoice over the instructions which are preserved for you through the Church; but rejoice especially that Jesus has taken possession of the glory gained by His most profound humiliations, for now He is there an intercessor for you; there He prepares for you a mansion; there is now your home. To-day look up to heaven where Christ is, hope, suffer, love, and pray.

GOSPEL. Mark xvi. 14-20.

At that time, as the eleven were at table, Jesus appeared to them and He upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart: because they did not believe them who had seen Him after He was risen again. And He said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues: they shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere, the Lord working withal, and con firming the word with signs that followed. “Let us ‘says St. Augustine, “in spirit, ascend with Christ, that when the time comes, we may follow Him in body also. But we must know, dear brethren, that neither pride, nor avarice, nor impurity can ascend with Christ, our Lord, for pride does not keep company with the teacher of humility, nor wickedness with the source of all good, nor impurity with the Son of the Virgin.”

Aspiration. O King of glory! Who didst on this day ascend victoriously above the heavens, leave us not orphans, but send us, from the Father, the Spirit of truth Whom Thou hast promised, and receive us all into Thy glory.

Why, on this day, is the Easter-candle extinguished and carried away after the gospel? It is done in remembrance of the hour in which Christ, Who is typified by the Easter-candle, left this earth.

Ascension Thursday Customs[3]
Ascension Plays

In the early centuries the Church celebrated the Feast of the Ascension with elaborate processions that imitated Christ's conducting His Apostles to Bethany (Lk. 24.50). Eventually, however, these liturgical processions became nonliturgical pageants, and the pageants, in turn, became plays. Ascension Thursday was a day for special effects. This could happen in a dignified way during the Mass, as when in Germany the priest would lift a crucifix during the Gospel at the words, "He was taken up into heaven," or it could happen in a dramatic way after Mass with a theatrical representation of the Ascension event. Statues of the risen Christ would be hoisted by pulleys into the air and then either concealed by white silk representing clouds or pulled through an opening in the ceiling. The audience would then be showered with roses, lilies, and wafers. The flowers symbolized the various gifts of the Holy Spirit promised by Christ before He left, while the wafers reminded all that Jesus is still present to us in the Blessed Sacrament.

·         Traditional banquets on this day would gastronomically imitate Christ's ascension by making the main course something that could fly to heaven. Birds of almost every feather - pigeons, pheasants, partridges, and even crows - eventually found their way to the Ascension Day table.

Hiking



In Central Europe Ascension Thursday is a popular day for mountain climbing or picnicking on hilltops. No doubt this is in commemoration of the summit of the Mount of Olives from which Christ ascended and the heights to which he soared. A similarly inspired tradition is eating some kind of bird for the Feast since on this day Christ "flew" to Heaven.

Rest

Like any other solemnity, Ascension Thursday is supposed to be a day of rest and liberal leisure. For some reason or another, however, traditional folklore treats this observance for today with particular severity. Popular superstitions warned against working in field or garden, and special punishments were purportedly reserved for women who sewed. Any needle, it was thought, that was used for work on Ascension Thursday would soon attract lightning!

Ascension Thursday[4]


Ascension commemorates the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:1-11) after spending 40 days appearing to his disciples after his resurrection.  The disciples thought Jesus was going to restore the earth to the Kingdom of Heaven, but instead, as he promised to send the Holy Spirit to give them power, he ascended into Heaven and disappeared in a cloud.  Ascension is the 40th day after Easter, celebrated on the sixth Sunday of the Easter season in Protestant churches and on the 40th day after Easter in Roman Catholic churches.

Ascension Facts & Quotes

·         The Apostle's Creed, one of the statements of faith in the Christian Church, mentions Jesus' ascension:
·         I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. The third day he rose from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
·         An ancient custom in England, called the Beating of the Bounds, is often performed on or near Ascension.  Before maps, this was the day that people would mark the boundaries of their property with stones marked with chalk.  Some English churches still perform the custom, led by the vicar.  Church members carry sticks to wick at weeds as they process.
·         In the Orthodox tradition, celebration of the Jesus' Ascension starts with an all-night vigil or vespers (evening) service beginning on Saturday.
·         Jesus' ascension into heaven does not mean his absence, but that he is alive among us in a new way, close to each one of us.  - Pope Francis via Twitter on 4/17/2013

Ascension Top Events and Things to Do

·         Johann Sebastian Bach wrote several pieces related to both Easter and the Ascension.  Listen to Bach's the Ascension Oratorio, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen (Praise God in His Kingdoms) on YouTube.
·         Go bird watching.  A custom in Sweden, is to get up early in the morning of Ascension and venture out into the woods to listen for the call of a cuckoo.  It is considered good luck to hear one on this holiday.
·         Go to church and learn about why Jesus' ascension is important to the Christian faith.  Jesus is considered to be both human and divine, and the ascension is an illustration of Christ's divine nature.
·         View paintings that depict the ascension.  One of the most famous works is The Ascension of Christ by Rembrandt Van Rijn.

Preparing for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit[5]

On Ascension Day the Lumen Christi is taken from the dining room table to signify that the Lord has ascended. In the days when the Faith was flourishing, the Sunday after the feast of the Ascension was called "The Sunday of the Roses," the name given from the custom of strewing the pavements of the churches with roses, as an homage to Christ who ascended into heaven when the earth was in the season of flowers. Why cannot we in our day have roses in our homes, make an offering of flowers to our church, or take roses from our gardens to one infirm or sick?

Here are some prayers and meditations to be said in the family between the Ascension and Pentecost Sunday.

One of the simplest ways we have found for young children to prepare for Pentecost is by meditating on the mysteries of the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit. We reflect on one mystery a day.

Opening Prayer: Sign of the Cross-Act of Contrition


First Mystery: Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.

Meditation: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. Therefore, the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God (Luke 11:35).
Prayers: One Our Father and Hail Mary; seven Glory be to the Father.

Second Mystery: The Spirit of the Lord rests upon Jesus.

Meditation: When Jesus was baptized, He immediately came up from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a Dove and coming upon Him (Matthew 3:16). 
Prayers: One Our Father and Hail Mary; seven Glory be to the Father.

Third Mystery: Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert.

Meditation: Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit about the desert for forty days, being tempted the while by the devil (Luke 4:11). 
Prayers: One Our Father and Hail Mary; seven Glory be to the Father.

Fourth Mystery: The Holy Spirit in the Church.

Meditation: Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak of the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:2, 4, 11). 
Prayers: One Our Father and Hail Mary; seven Glory be to the Father.

Fifth Mystery: The Holy Spirit in the souls of the Just.

Meditation: Or, do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Do not extinguish the Spirit. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (1 Cor. 6:19; 1 Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30).
Prayers: One Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary; seven Glory be to the Father.

Daily Devotions

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Rosary


Memorial Day Build Up


Every day from now to Memorial Day I ask your prayers for each service and all of our defenders to include police and fire on Memorial Day.


The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the coastal defense, search and rescue, and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country's eight uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its duties. It operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the U.S. Department of the Navy by the U.S. President at any time, or by the U.S. Congress during times of war. Congressional authority transfers happened twice: in 1917, during World War I, and in 1941, during World War II. Created by the U.S. Congress on 4 August 1790 at the request of Alexander Hamilton as the Revenue-Marine, it is the oldest continuous seagoing service of the United State. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton headed the Revenue-Marine, whose original purpose was collecting customs duties at U.S. seaports. By the 1860s, the service was known as the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the term Revenue-Marine gradually fell into disuse. The modern Coast Guard was formed by a merger of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915, under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 1939, the U.S. Lighthouse Service was also merged into the Coast Guard. As one of the country's six armed services, the Coast Guard has been involved in every U.S. war from 1790 to the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.






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