"Everyone who belongs to the Truth hears my voice…" (John 18:37)

The Ascension of the Lord

Quotes-About-Saying-Goodbye-10

(Matthew 28:16-20) Partings are always tough, especially when you have to say goodbye to someone you love and care for. No matter how much we may tell ourselves that it’s for the best, the departure of someone who has been close to us – who has played a big part in our lives – leaves a hole in our hearts and an emptiness that no one else can fill. Forty days after Easter – the day we now celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord1 – the time had come for Jesus to say good-bye to His disciples. But though He physically ascended into heaven that day, it wasn’t really ‘goodbye’, because Jesus did not leave us on our own.

Jesus had appeared to the disciples many times in the weeks following His Resurrection, giving them many proofs that He was, in fact, alive. It was important for Him to spend this time with them, because they needed to be able to testify to the fact that Jesus is not in the grave. That not only is He alive, but “He is Life itself.”2 His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven give us all hope that we, too, will one day rise to a new life with Him in eternity.

Brian Whelan Ascension 36 x 29 65 bd 2012

This depiction of the Ascension of Jesus by Brian Whelan follows the medieval tradition of showing Jesus’ feet ascending into heaven while His sandals – His footprints – remain below on earth. The space in front of the scene is left open – a place where the viewer is welcomed into the circle of disciples. (Cf. Meryl Doney)

Because of this great hope, when Jesus ascended into heaven His disciples did not feel abandoned. Instead, St. Luke tells us that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy (Lk 24:52). Before Jesus left, He had promised them two things. First, He told them that He was going to prepare a place for all of His followers so that we will be able to be with Him (Jn 14:3). “Because I live,” He said, “you will live also” (Jn 14:18). Second, He promised that He would never leave us alone (Jn 14:18). Pope Benedict writes, “[The disciples] do not consider Jesus to have disappeared far away into an inaccessible heaven. They are obviously convinced of a new presence of Jesus. They are certain … that he is now present to them in a new and powerful way. … They know that he is now permanently among them, in the way that only God can be close to us.”3

This closeness was made possible through the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost. It was a grace that was the fruit of prayer. For after the Ascension, the disciples returned to the Upper Room in Jerusalem where they – along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the women, and other followers of Jesus – spent nine days praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today, Catholics still pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday, asking God to shower them with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.5

Jesus assured us that those who believe in Him can hope in the gift of everlasting life. Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we are also assured that we will be given whatever graces we need to endure the challenges of this life.4 No matter how dark the way or how difficult the trial, Jesus promises that we will never be alone. “I am with you always,” He said, “to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).

– Sharon van der Sloot

jesus_calms_storm

 

“The Lord is ‘on the mountain’ of the Father. Therefore he sees us. Therefore he can get into the boat of our life at any moment. Therefore we can always call on him; we can always be certain that he sees and hears us. In our own day, too, the boat of the church travels against the headwind of history through the turbulent ocean of time. Often it looks as if it is bound to sink. But the Lord is there, and he comes at the right moment. ‘I go away, and I will come to you’ – that is the essence of Christian trust, the reason for our joy.”6 – Pope Benedict XVI

 

 

1 This feast day is sometimes called ‘Ascension Thursday’, because forty days after Easter falls on that day of the week. This year, Ascension Thursday is on May 29th. In Canada, we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension on the Sunday immediately following AscensionThursday.

2 Cf. Joseph Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth Part Two – Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, trans. Vatican Secretariat of State (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), 278.

3 Ibid., 281.

4 Cf. Regis Martin, “What the Lord’s Ascension Means,” Crisis Magazine [online magazine]; available from http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/what-the-lords-ascension-means – .U4Tk2dohTZA.email; Internet; accessed 27 May 2014.

5 Cf. Scott P. Richert, “The Ascension of Our Lord,” About.com Catholicism; available from http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/p/Ascension.htm; Internet; accessed 27 May 2014. A ‘novena’ refers to nine days of prayer.

6 Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth Part Two – Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, 284-285.

 

cropped-dove-header

Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit7

Courtesy of “Pray More Novenas”

Day 1 – Charity

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Charity within us.

The great charity of all the host of Saints is only made possible by your power, Oh Divine Spirit. Increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 2 – Joy

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Joy within us.

All of the Saints are marked with an uncompromisable Joy in times of trial, difficulty and pain. Give us, Oh Holy Spirit, the Joy that surpasses all understanding that we may live as a witness to Your love and fidelity!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 3 – Peace

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Peace within us.

The Saints were tempted, attacked and accused by the devil who is the destroyer of peace. When we are accused by the devil, come to our aid as our Advocate and give us Peace that lasts through all trials!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 4 – Patience

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Patience within us.

Oh Holy Spirit, you give lavishly to those who ask. Please give us the patience of the Saints who are now with you in heaven. Help us to endure everything with an eternal patience that is only possible with your help.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 5 – Kindness

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Kindness within us.

Jesus approached sinners with immense kindness. Holy Paraclete, please treat us humble sinners with the same kindness and give us the ability to treat all others with that kindness as well.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 6 – Faithfulness

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Faithfulness within us.

You, oh Lord, are ever faithful. You are faithful until the end. Though we are weak and distracted, please give us the grace to be faithful to You as you are to us!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 7 – Gentleness

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Gentleness within us.

Despite the gravity of our sins, oh Lord you treat us with Gentleness. Dear Holy Spirit, give us your power to treat all in our lives with the Gentleness of the Saints.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 8 – Self-Control

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Self-Control within us.

Your Martyrs had the overwhelming self-control to go joyfully to a painful death without shrinking from the opportunity to join You in heaven. Give us this self-control to have command over our emotions and desires that we may serve You more fully.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Day 9 – Goodness

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Goodness within us.

We want to be like your Saints in heaven. Holy Spirit, renew us by your power with your Goodness that we may bring the Good News to the world.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

7 “Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit,” Pray More Novenas; available from http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy-spirit/; Internet; accessed 27 May 2014. Used with permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged as: , , , , , ,