Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ascension of the Lord

Also from Catholic Culture [take your pick - cheers]

Besides the hope and the joyful expectancy of heaven so characteristic of the Ascension feast there is a note of melancholy. Before the final departure of Jesus, the Apostles must have been very much disturbed: each felt the distress of one who sees his dearest friend and companion going away forever, and finds himself alone to face all the difficulties of life. The Lord realized their state of mind and consoled them once more, promising the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter: "He commanded them," we read in the Epistle (Acts 1:1-11), "that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father... you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not many days hence." But even this time the Apostles did not understand how much they needed to be enlightened and transformed by the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish the great mission which was to be entrusted to them! Jesus continued, "You shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you and you shall be witnesses unto Me ... even to the uttermost part of the earth." For the moment, however, they were there, around the Master, weak, timid, frightened, like little children watching their mother leave for a distant, unknown land. In fact, "while they looked on, He was raised up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." Two angels came to distract them from their great amazement and to make them realize what had happened. Then, placing their trust in the word of Jesus, which would henceforth be their only support, they returned to Jerusalem where, in the Cenacle, they awaited in prayer the fulfillment of the promise. It was the first novena in preparation for Pentecost: "All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with ... Mary, the Mother of Jesus" (ibid. 1:14).

Silence, recollection, prayer, peace with our brethren, and union with Mary: these are the characteristics of the novena we too should make in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

-- Excerpted from Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

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