Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Ascension Thursday—21 May AD 2009

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

    With today’s feast of the Ascension, we have reached the apparent end of our Lord’s work on earth.  We might pause briefly to look back over the events of His life, reflecting on what they might mean for our own lives.

    We have seen our Lord Jesus Christ join us in our human nature.  He took genuine human flesh—just like yours and mine—and He lived a life like our in all things but sin.  He did this to redeem us from original sin.  Man had sinned and was not able to make up for it—a tiny, finite creature had disobeyed his infinite Creator—he had nothing even remotely capable of offering God in apology.  It was only God as man who could do such a thing

    As God, our Lord could have redeemed us by nothing more than an act of His divine will.  Certainly becoming one of us and living life in the human condition was far more than necessary.  But He chose to spend thirty-three years in relative hardship, poverty, and obscurity; and then to suffer and die for us upon the Cross.  He did this to give mankind an indelible memory of the horror of sin—just as our sins caused Him to die on the Cross—we are reminded of the metaphorical death of our own souls when we consent to mortal sin.

    It is my personal belief that by His agony on the Cross our Lord consecrated suffering, so that whenever we have pain, or trial or tribulation we can offer it with Him for the salvation of sinners, and for our own salvation

    “God had established human nature in wondrous dignity, and even more wondrously has renewed ... through this mystery ... we become partakers of His divinity, Who humbled Himself to become partaker of our humanity.[1]

    On Easter Sunday we saw that our Lord conquered the death that is due to sin by rising victoriously from the grave.  Even when we are unfortunate enough to find ourselves in the state of sin, we can rejoice in the knowledge will not allow us to remain in its grip—at least not if we cooperate with His graces.  Our Lord conquered sin in general, and now He conquers it within us through Baptism, contrition, and the confessional.

    But today, our Lord is apparently leaving us—ascending into Heaven.  He is leaving us physically, but not abandoning us.  Not only does His physical presence remain in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar—but on Pentecost He sent the Holy Ghost to be our Advocate, to remain in us, strengthening us, and making us holy.

    So on this feast of the Ascension, let us think in terms of picking up where our Lord left off—in terms of making ourselves more perfect dwellings for the Holy Ghost—in terms of making ourselves and the world around us holy.

    Let me close with a final observation and suggestion.  Today we begin the first novena—the nine days of prayer that the disciples spent in the company of the Blessed Virgin in the Upper Room awaiting the descent of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Sunday. We have the opportunity to join those disciples in much the same way.  Let me suggest that you do the same thing as the disciples: make that novena by daily meditating with Mary.  We already know the outcome of those nine days, so we can join her in meditation on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.  Our Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension will bring us to the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and then we can rejoice with her in her Assumption and Queenship of Heaven.


[1]   Cf. blessing of the water at the offertory of the Mass.


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