God Mounts His Throne to Shouts of Joy

“I am going to My Father and Your Father, to My God and Your God (John 20:17).”

As we celebrate the glorious Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, our eyes must turn from looking up at the clouds to walking the road ahead of us. After His Resurrection, Our Lord appeared to His disciples over a period of forty days – eating, drinking, and speaking with them on various occasions. Today we celebrate that moment during which Jesus, the Risen Christ, returned to His Heavenly Throne, where He is eternally seated at the right hand of The Heavenly Father. Our Lord promised His disciples that he would not leave them orphaned; Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth. It is in anticipation of the fulfillment of this promise, that Jesus instructs His disciples to remain in Jerusalem for a time.

Today’s First Reading states:

“the promise of the Father about which you have heard Me speak; for John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts of the Apostles 1:4-5 ).”

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself like the disciples, too concerned about temporal matters to comprehend the depth of the gift which they are about to receive. They question Our Lord about whether He now intends to restore the temporal kingdom of Israel. Like us, they just don’t get it! He has died, risen, and explained the subtleties of Sacred Scripture to these individuals. They have enjoyed the intimacy of His companionship, eating, drinking and sharing profound conversation with the Risen Christ; and like us, the distraction of the temporal situation blurs the reality of the spiritual grace which is perpetually lavished upon them.

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Today First Reading continues:

“It is not for you to know the times and the seasons that the Father has established by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth (Acts of the Apostles 1:7-8).”

Like the early disciples, our Lord commissions us to carry His Word to all peoples. Yet, we too need the supernatural grace of the Holy Spirit, to fulfill our mission. Later this year we will hear more about our responsibility to act on this commission by Our Lord, as Pope Benedict XVI opens the Year of Evangelization.

Today’s First Reading continues:

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

As they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as He was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen Him going into Heaven (Acts of the Apostles 1: 10-12 ).”

One can scarcely imagine the array of emotions which confronted the Apostles and disciples after witnessing Our Lord ascend into the clouds of the sky: joy, exhilaration, trepidation, awe, incredulity, wonder – the experience is almost unimaginable! Were it not for the admonition of their celestial messengers, the disciples might have remained frozen, contemplating the miraculous Ascension, yet unable to take the requisite steps to make Our Lord’s commission an actuality. The white-clad visitors pull them back to reality. They validated the mystery experienced by all present, yet called the Apostles and disciples to transcend it. It is as if God’s messengers were saying: “Yes, Jesus did just rise above the clouds and enter Heaven. However, He has given you a mission and will return with a demand for accountability. Get moving! Begin the work He has entrusted to you!”

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Two millennia have passed, and yet the message is as relevant today as it was on the day of Our Lord’s Ascension. We too need the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives to grasp the meaning of the Ascension. Yes, there is a moment to stare into the clouds in wonder and awe, contemplating the glorious mystery of Christ, yet we are also called to embrace the evangelical mission entrusted to us.

Therefore, as this week unfolds let us join the Apostles in the Cenacle in prayer. Consider joining me in preparing for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost with this novena to the Holy Spirit which is currently prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Each day the Preparatory prayer is:

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!

I adore You as my Triune God.

I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.

I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. photo by Joey

Day Three

Heavenly Father, You have called me to be a member of the Mystical Body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit. I ask You to give me these Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, that I may understand the follies of this world; understanding, that I may grasp more fully the meaning of my existence and the purpose of all things in the world; counsel that I may always choose the proper way; fortitude, that I may remain faithful to You under the pressure of temptation; piety, that I may revere You in all I do, think or say; fear of the Lord, that should the motive of love fail me, I may be quickly awakened to the eternal consequences of my deeds. Visit me by Your grace and Your Love and grant me the favor I earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). . .Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

May the Holy Spirit give you His peace!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

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