There is much more to the Ascension than I initially thought, it is good to take a moment to reflect upon it. Jesus said during the Last Supper: “None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jn 16:5-7)
According to this Scripture passage, it is better that Jesus not be on this earth, because after He ascends He will be able to send us His Holy Spirit. There is a causal relationship. Once Jesus has ascended to the Father he will be able to send us the Holy Spirit. It will come and dwell in our hearts transforming and saving us. It is similar to the basic principle. Every time we get closer to God, God radiates from us to all around us. Every time we do an act of true love, love radiates from us.
We can take several practical daily life principles from this, here are two examples:
The Vertical comes first. Turning to God in prayer is what I call “the Vertical” because we look directly at Him. How do we do this? We make an act of Faith (saying “I believe in you God”), an act of Hope (saying “Despite everything, I hope and trust in you”) and an act of Love (saying “I love you Lord”). The Horizontal comes second (but is not secondary). The Horizontal includes everything from service to loving my brothers and sisters. I cannot share God with anyone if I don’t have God in me.
A second point, if we want to lead our children to God we should imitate Jesus. He did not over focus on his Disciples. Rather His eyes were turned towards His Father. We teach by example. If you are not giving your heart to God, how can you expect your children to?
St. Therese of the Child Jesus tells of a story when she was a little girl. She went to mass with her father whom she called her King. Her mother died when she was four, so her father took on a very important role in her heart. In many ways, he was really her king. In any case, while she was at mass, and the priest was preaching, she looked up at her father and saw how taken up he was by the priest homily. There were tears in his eyes. At that very moment, she turned to listen to the priest and she writes that from that day forward she paid attention to every homily she heard.
I hope and pray that during this Ascension Sunday you may be able to enter into the mystery in a new way. That you turn towards Christ and thank Him for going before us to show us the way, and also sending us His Spirit so that He might bring us with Him.
Fr Michael Therese Scheerger