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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Savior's Ascension into Heaven

By:   Rev. Winfrid W Herbst, S.D.S.
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The Savior's Ascension into Heaven

[Note: Ascension Thursday is the day we begin the Pentecost Novena prayers—not on Sunday! This is yet another “novelty” from the Conference(s) of Catholic Bishops, and another bitter fruit of the Spirit of the Second Vatican Council. A disgrace to not only Christ, but to the Paraclete, Who came to confirm the teachings of Christ, showing us how to love God, His Church, and all that She teaches.]


AT THE FOOT of Mt. Olivet He had suffered; from its summit He ascended into heaven. There, on Mt. Olivet, He appeared to them, more gracious and irresistibly attractive than ever. He surely must have permitted them to kiss His sacred wounds in loving farewell. First His Blessed Mother must have come, then St. Peter, St. John, and the other Apostles and disciples. “And lifting up His hands, He blessed them.” (Luke 24:50.) He raised His hands on high, to show that the blessing He would give was of heaven. We may believe that He made the holy sign of the cross. We do not know what words He used in blessing them. Perhaps those tender words of the prayer after the Last Supper, “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name,” bless, protect them, “whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one as We also are.” (John 17:11.)


Slowly the Savior began to rise from the earth—by His own divine power. We think of the admiration of the disciples, of their exceeding joy, of their ardent desire to follow Him. “Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive.” (Ps. 67:19.)

Then “a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9.) It must have been beautiful, resplendent, fit to declare the majesty of the Lord.

They stood “looking up to heaven.” Two angels appeared, who told them He was to return—but for the judgment, in great power and majesty.

And the disciples “adoring went back to Jerusalem with great joy.” (Luke 24:52.) The causes of this joy were their confirmed faith, their great hope, and their fervent love.

Think of the triumph, exultation, and joy of His entry into heaven. With Him were the souls He had brought from Limbo. This joyful company of noble captives entered the empyreal heaven, admiring its spaciousness and brightness and beauty. Then heavenly music began. “God is ascended with jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet.” (Ps. 46:6.) An immeasurable multitude of angels came to accompany the Savior. “Lift up your gates, O ye princes,” they cried, “and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.” (Ps. 23:7.) But above all joy was the ineffable joy of the Savior Himself in this glorious triumph. “Rejoice with Me, because I have found My sheep that was lost.” (Luke 15:6.)

We may consider how the Savior presented to His Father the captives He had brought with Him. “I have glorified Thee on earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do: and now glorify Me, O Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had before the world was, with Thee.” (John 17:4, 5.) How wonderful those words! And the Father placed Him at His right hand, exalting His sacred Humanity above all the angels of heaven.

Consider how He distributes the thrones of heaven to the souls that ascended with Him, St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist being the highest of all. Showing His Father His holy wounds, the Savior at once begins His office of Advocate, Mediator, our great High Priest, in which office He still continues.

Listen to St. John: “My little children, these things I write to you that you may not sin. But if any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1John 2:1.)

It is “through Christ our Lord,” seated at the right hand of God the Father, that the benefits of the redemption are applied to us through the Church that He founded on earth with its seven saving Sacraments, channels of divine grace.


[From The Divine Savior: A Pictorial Life of Christ, Originally published in 1932 by Benziger Brothers. It is now out of print.]




Last modified on Thursday, May 29, 2014