Thursday, May 21, 2009
Although Ascension Thursday has a long history of being celebrated as the 40th day after Easter when Jesus left the Apostles and "ascended into heaven", most dioceses in the United States now have transfered the Feast of the Ascension to Sunday. We want to prepare ourselves to enter this mystery.
In the opening prayer we ask God to make us joyful in the ascension of his Son, Jesus Christ. Imagine God's joy to have Jesus ascend, body and soul...
There are two Prefaces in the Liturgy for the Ascension: the first says that today "the Lord Jesus, King of Glory, conqueror of sin and death, ascended to heaven while the angels sang his praises. Christ, the mediator between God and man, judge of the world and Lord of all, has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us but to be our hope. Christ is the beginning, the head of the Church; where he has gone, we hope to follow."
Both Prefaces give hope. In the second we read that Jesus, "in his risen body plainly showed himself to his disciples and was taken up to heaven in their sight to claim for us a share in his divine life."
St. Madeleine Sophie died on the Feast of the Ascension. An old Sacred Heart custom in our boarding schools was to gather just before noon on Ascension Thursday and sing "Beau Ciel" and think of Jesus ascending to his Father.