Ascension of the Lord
Chapter 8, Verse 23-25
23 At the end of their reign, when sinners have reached their measure, there shall arise a king, impudent, and skilled in intrigue. 24 He shall be strong and powerful, bring about FEARFUL ruin, and succeed in his undertaking. He shall destroy powerful peoples; 25 his cunning shall be against the holy ones, his treacherous conduct shall succeed. He shall be proud of heart and destroy many by stealth. But when he rises against the Prince of princes, he shall be broken without a hand being raised.
verse brings out images of how Christ’s love won over the Roman Empire and
through Rome was spread throughout the entire world. Rome controlled with human
fear. When we fear the Lord our contentment does not come from any absence of
problems but from knowingly choosing how to respond to them righteously. God
does not want to squash our dreams with His commandments. No, he listens and
smiles like we do when we see and hear the dreams of a child. Yet, He knows
that all dreams must be founded in reality and the truth. When our dreams work
against His commandments; our dreams work against us. Every dream must have a
foundation of love and in some way must increase the life, liberty or the
happiness of others. Yes, on the Day of Judgment the homes of the poor will be
honored more than the great mansions of the rich. Simple obedience to His laws
will be more highly praised than the brilliance of all the Kings, Presidents
and couriers throughout the world. Strive therefore for dreams which provide
earthly gain without the surrender to sin. So, the only real wealth is a clear
conscience; of a life well lived. To live righteously, to love chastely, to
learn the truth and to leave a legacy to others is the only true riches. Jesus
experienced the utmost depths of human fear.
Yet he found the strength even in that hour to trust the Father. “Abba, Father, all things are possible to
you; remove this chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mk.
15:34) Can we at the final hour have the peace of Christ to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.
(Lk . 23:46)
Feast of the Ascension
Forty days after
Easter, our Lord ascends into heaven. The Paschal candle is extinguished
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
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.
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
This Jesus Who is taken up from you
into heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven.
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.
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.
on this day, is the Easter-candle extinguished and carried away after the
It is done in
remembrance of the hour in which Christ, Who is typified by the Easter-candle,
left this earth.
Ascension Thursday Customs
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.
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.
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 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 &
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
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.
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
View paintings that depict the ascension.
One of the most famous works is The Ascension of Christ by
Rembrandt Van Rijn.
the empowerment of the Holy Spirit
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?
are some prayers and meditations to be said in the family between the Ascension
and Pentecost Sunday.
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
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
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
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.
Devotions for Holy Communion
HOW WE OUGHT
yourself for holy communion the evening before by many thoughts of love,
retiring earlier, that you may rise sooner in the morning. Should you awake in
the night, raise your heart to God immediately, and make some ardent
aspirations, in order to prepare your soul for the reception of her Spouse,
Who, being awake whilst you were asleep, prepares a thousand graces and favors
for you, if, on your part, you are disposed to receive them.
morning, rise up with eagerness to enjoy the happiness you hope for; and having
confessed, go with a great but humble confidence to receive this heavenly food,
which nourishes your soul to immortality: and after repeating thrice, “Lord, I
am not worthy,” cease to move your lips to pray, or to sigh, but opening your
mouth gently and moderately, and lifting up your head as much as is necessary,
that the priest may see what he is about, full of faith, hope, and charity,
receive Him, in Whom, by Whom, and for Whom you believe, hope, and Whom you
love. Represent to yourself that as the bee, after gathering from the flowers
the dew of heaven, and the choicest juice of the earth, reducing them into
honey, carries it into her hive, so the priest, having taken from the altar the
Savior of the world, the true Son of God, Who, as the dew, is descended from
heaven, and the true Son of the Virgin, Who, as a flower, is sprung from the
earth of our humanity, puts Him as delicious food into your mouth and body.
received Him in your breast, excite your heart to do homage to the author of
your salvation; treat with Him concerning your internal affairs; consider that
He has taken up His abode within you for your happiness; make Him then as
welcome as you possibly can, and conduct yourself in such a manner as to make it
appear by all your actions that God is with you.
when you cannot enjoy the benefit of really communicating at holy Mass, communicate at least spiritually, uniting yourself by an ardent
desire to this life-giving flesh of Our Savior. Your principal intention in
communicating should be to advance in virtue, to strengthen yourself in the
love of God, and to receive comfort from this love; for you must receive
through love that which love alone caused to be given to you. You cannot
consider Our Savior in an action either more full of love, or more tender than
this, in which He annihilates Himself, or, as we may more properly say, changes
Himself into food, that so He may penetrate our souls, and unite Himself most
intimately to the heart, and to the body of His faithful.
worldlings ask you why you communicate so often, tell them it is to learn to
love God, to purify yourself from your imperfections, to be delivered from your
miseries, to be comforted in your afflictions, and supported in your
them that two sorts of persons ought to communicate frequently: the perfect,
because, being well disposed, they would be greatly to blame not to approach to
the source and fountain of perfection; and the imperfect, to the end that they
may be able to aspire to perfection; the strong, lest they should become weak;
and the weak, that they may become strong; the healthy, lest they should fall
into sickness; and the sick, that they may be restored to health: that for your
part, being imperfect, weak, and sick, you have need to communicate frequently
with Him Who is your perfection, your strength, and your physician.
them that those who have not many worldly affairs to look after ought to
communicate often, because they have leisure; that those who have much business
on hand should also communicate often, for he who labors much and is loaded
with toil ought to eat solid food, and that frequently.
them that you receive the Holy Sacrament, to learn to receive it well; because
one can hardly perform an action well which he does not often practice. Communicate
frequently, then, and as frequently as you can, with the advice of your ghostly
father; and, believe me, by approaching to and eating beauty, purity, and
goodness itself, in this divine sacrament, you will become altogether fair,
pure, and virtuous.
Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Hold Nothing Back from Christ
27. On the sacred day of Holy
Thursday, Jesus’ last night with His disciples, He knew that soon He would
return to His Father, but He also knew how much they will need His presence,
one that “The Imitation of Christ” eloquently describes as consoling and
strengthening: “When Jesus is near, all is well and nothing seems difficult.
When He is absent all is hard. When Jesus does not speak within, all other
comfort is empty, but if He says only a word, it brings great consolation”
(Book II Chapter 8). In a certain sense, we can say that here Jesus
faces a dilemma. On the one hand, He desires to return to His Father and on the
other hand, He desires to remain with His disciples. God’s love always finds an
ingenious solution to such dilemma. Jesus returns to His Father, but by
instituting the Sacrament of the Eucharist, at the same time He remains with
His disciples, to accompany them in the challenges, difficulties, and suffering
that they will face as they take on the mission of preaching the Good News.
Through the Eucharist, Jesus gives the greatest gift of Himself to His
disciples and to us. Indeed, the Eucharist is truly the sacrament of Christ’s
28. God’s love for us did not
stop at the Incarnation. He did not just become one of us and share our life
from conception to death and redeem us through His suffering, Death and
Resurrection. His self-giving love went beyond by becoming our very
nourishment. The Eucharist reveals how much Jesus loves us. Saint John Vianney,
the patron saint of priests, expresses eloquently God’s extreme love for us in
the Eucharist: “Never would we have thought of asking God to give us His own
Son. But what man could not have even imagined, God has done. What man could
not say or think, and what he could not have dared to desire, God, in His love
has said it, planned it and carried His design into execution. We would never
have dared to say to God to have His Son die for us, to give us His Body to
eat, His Blood to drink… In other words, what man could not even conceive, God
has executed. He went further in His designs of love than we could have
dreamed” (The Eucharist Meditation of the Curé D’Ars, Meditation I).
29. How do we, then, respond to
the Lord’s gift of Himself in the Holy Eucharist? Do we really desire Him? Are
we anxious to meet Him? Do we desire to encounter Him, become one with Him and
receive the gifts He offers us through the Eucharist?
To be continued…
of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY
ARTICLE 8-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
II. The Name, Titles, and
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
proper name of the Holy Spirit
691 "Holy Spirit" is
the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the
Son. the Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the
Baptism of her new children.
The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah,
which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the
sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of
him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit. On the other hand,
"Spirit" and "Holy" are divine attributes common to the
three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological
language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any
possible equivocation with other uses of the terms "spirit" and
of the Holy Spirit
692 When he proclaims and
promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the
"Paraclete," literally, "he who is called to one's side,"
advocatus. "Paraclete" is commonly translated by
"consoler," and Jesus is the first consoler. The Lord also
called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth."
693 Besides the proper name of
"Holy Spirit," which is most frequently used in the Acts of the
Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit
of the promise, The Spirit of adoption, The Spirit of Christ, The
Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirit of God - and, in St. Peter, the
Spirit of glory.
of the Holy Spirit
694 Water. the symbolism of water
signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of
the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just
as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism
truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy
Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also
"made to drink of one Spirit." Thus, the Spirit is also
personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified as its source
and welling up in us to eternal life.
695 Anointing. the symbolism of
anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of
becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is
the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called "chrismation" in the
Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the
primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in
Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit.
There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently
King David. But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the
Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. the Holy Spirit
established him as "Christ." The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by
the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth,
and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord. The
Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts
of healing and of saving. Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from
the dead. Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity
victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until
"the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son
of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ": "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's
696 Fire. While water signifies
birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes
the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. the prayer of the prophet
Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a
torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This
event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms
what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the
spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus will say of
the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were
already kindled!" In the form of tongues "as of fire," the
Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them
with himself The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire
as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions. "Do
not quench the Spirit."
697 Cloud and light. These two images occur
together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the
Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and
saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount
Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the
desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. In the Holy
Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. the Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary
and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to
Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud
came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and
"a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen
to him!'" Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the
disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in
glory on the day of his final coming.
698 The seal is a symbol close to that
of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals
us in him. Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the
anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and
Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological
traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these
three unrepeatable sacraments.
699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and
blesses little children by laying hands on them. In his name the apostles
will do the same. Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition
of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. The Letter to the Hebrews lists
the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its
teaching. The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of
the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.
700 The finger. "It is by the
finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons." If God's law was written
on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter
from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with
the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human
hearts." The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as
the "finger of the Father's right hand."
701 The dove. At the end of the flood,
whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh
olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable. When
Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of
a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. The Spirit comes down
and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the
Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium)
suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to
suggest the Spirit.
Litany of the Most Precious
Blood of Jesus
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896