Bookmark and Share

The Ascension of Our Lord

Solemnity - 40 days after Easter Sunday (ie Thursday of Week 6 of Eastertide) & 10 days before the Feast of Pentecost
(some countries have boringly switched this to the following Sunday)
2nd Glorious Mystery of the Rosary

Pope Francis's words on this feast day in: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013.
Papa Benedict XVI's words in: 2012, 2011 (in Croatia), 2010, 2009 (in Monte Cassino), 2008, 2007, 2006 (in Poland) & 2005.
St John Paul II's words in: 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 (at end of Extraordinary Consistory), Jubilee 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1985 (in Luxembourg) & 1979 (at the English College in Rome).

3 2us by Fr Iain Matthew OCD       
"The ascension of Christ means the passage of Christ into the dimension of eternal love. He paid the price for that, on the Cross, He loved to the end, even when they were crucifying Him, even when I was crucifying Him. So now He truly can live love to the end. In His sacred humanity He can enter into that dimension of being which is pure love, pure hospitality, pure welcome. He can fill the universe with His presence because there is nothing in the universe that He has not loved and redeemed."

3 2us by Father Tony Nye SJ      
"The key note of the feast of Our Lord’s Ascension is hope, our hope of heaven. That was expressed in the opening prayer of this Mass: “For the ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation and where the head has gone before in glory the body is called to follow in hope.' His presence and company day by day on earth, so that we may be in his company in heaven."

Evangelium by Fr Andrew Pinsent      
"What is most significant about the Ascension is that Jesus' human nature is also described as sitting at the right hand of God. In an image given to us by St Catherine of Siena, it is as if the human nature of Jesus Christ has become like a great bridge, stretching from our present earthly life into the presence of God in heaven."

Evangelium by Fr Andrew Pinsent      
"The Ascension helps to teach us about our true and final home, but Scripture also suggests that it brings us spiritual benefits as well. We do not fully understand these benefits but we are told that Christ has entered the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest."

Pope St Leo the Great - Sermon 1 on the Ascension, 2-4:

"The days between the Lord's resurrection and his ascension, my dear brethren, did not pass away to no purpose: great mysteries were established in them, and great truths revealed.

During these days fear of the horror of death was taken away, and the immortality of the body as well as the soul was made known. During them the Lord breathed on all his apostles and filled them with the Holy Spirit; and to Saint Peter more than the other apostles he entrusted the care of the Lord's sheepfold, having already entrusted to him the keys of the kingdom.

It was during this time that the Lord joined the two disciples as their companion on the road; and by rebuking them for their timid and fearful hesitation he dispelled the darkness of doubt from all our minds. Their enlightened hearts received the flame of faith; cool before, they glowed when the Lord unfolded the scriptures to them. As they ate with him, their eyes were opened in the breaking of bread - opened much more happily to the revealed glory of our nature than were the eyes of the first members of our race who were filled with shame at their sin.

Throughout this time between the Lord's resurrection and ascension, by dear brethren, the Lord in his providence fulfilled one purpose, taught one lesson, set one consideration before the eyes and hearts of his followers; that the Lord Jesus Christ, who was truly born, truly suffered and truly died, should be recognized as truly risen.

The apostles and all the disciples had been filled with fear by his death on the cross and their faith in the resurrection had been hesitant; but now they gained such great strength from seeing the truth, that when the Lord went up to heaven, far from feeling sadness, they experienced a great joy. 

Indeed they had a great and mysterious cause for rejoicing. For in the sight of the vast company of the blessed, human nature was exalted above the dignity of all the creatures of heaven, passing beyond the ranks of the angels, being raised above the high seat of the archangels; to receive an elevation that would have no limit until it was admitted into the eternal Father's dwelling, to share the glorious throne of him with whose nature it had been united in the person of the Son."

Blessed John Henry Newman - Sermon 'The Spiritual Presence of Christ in the Church' (PPS, vol 6, 10):

"Christ's going to the Father is at once a source of sorrow, because it involves his absence; and of joy, because it involves his presence. And out of the doctrine of his Resurrection and Ascension, spring those Christian paradoxes, often spoken of in Scripture, that we are sorrowing, yet always rejoicing; “as having nothing, yet possessing all things” (2Cor 6,10).

This, indeed, is our state at present; we have lost Christ and we have found him; we see him not, yet we discern him. We embrace his feet (Mt 28,9), yet he says, "Touch Me not" (Jn 20,17). How is this? it is thus: we have lost the sensible and conscious perception of him; we cannot look on him, hear him, converse with him, follow him from place to place; but we enjoy the spiritual, immaterial, inward, mental, real sight and possession of him; a possession more real and more present than that which the Apostles had in the days of his flesh, because it is spiritual, because it is invisible.

We know that the closer any object of this world comes to us, the less we can contemplate it and comprehend it. Christ has come so close to us in the Christian Church (if I may so speak), that we cannot gaze on him or discern him. He enters into us, he claims and takes possession of his purchased inheritance; he does not present himself to us, but he takes us to him. He makes us his members... We see him not, and know not of his presence, except by faith, because he is over us and within us. And thus we may at the same time lament because we are not conscious of his presence... and may rejoice because we know we do possess it... , according to the text, "Whom having not seen... you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1Pt 1,8-9)."