As we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us meditate on the Second Glorious mystery, Christ’s Ascension into heaven, and the significance of this vital event in our Christian lives.
St. Augustine claimed that “the Resurrection of the Lord is our hope; the Lord’s Ascension is our glorification.” In the Resurrection of Christ, we continue to hope for the salvation of our souls, that one day we will join our Creator in heaven. In the Ascension of Christ, we are glorified by the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly kingdom.
The Resurrection is a visible sign for Jesus’ disciples, given to strengthen their hope for salvation. We continue to hope for our salvation because of the faith of these disciples and the grace of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon them. Despite our weakness and sinfulness, through God’s mercy, our sins are forgiven, and God continues to bestow upon us the grace to persevere in being holy and righteous in His sight. We must continue to persevere in this hopefulness by elevating our hearts to God one step at a time.
In the Ascension, Jesus Christ went up to heaven and was glorified by being given His rightful seat at the right hand of the Father. We must remember that when Jesus descended to Earth, He not only took on our human nature, but went beyond our earthly life and descended into hell. Through His own death, He sought to save the holy souls who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom by preaching the Gospel to them. As our Catechism teaches, “Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 633). The descent of Jesus is not in His own will but in obedience to the Father. Jesus Christ humbled Himself for our sake, so that we who are dead to sin may be given our lives back, and join our Heavenly Father in heaven. However, we who are hoping for our salvation must also glorify God for our salvation by humbling our hearts.
It seems a great irony that to ascend, one must descend. However, it makes logical sense that one must first be in a lower state to reach a higher one. We must first recognize that we are sinners; we must humble ourselves to seek forgiveness and receive the grace and mercy of God to persevere with hope in our continued ascent to Heaven. By humility, we must purify our hearts from the pride of our sins which darken our minds. It is humility that allows us to follow Jesus’ footsteps to heaven. It is in our lowliness that we recognize our need for God’s grace. It is our submission that allows us to be obedient to God, and to be with Him in Heaven.
May God be glorified forever. Amen.
Br. Joshua Gatus, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE