The Ascension


As glorious as was the Ascension, I feel a special kinship with, and grief for, the Apostles and Jesus’ disciples.  If you have ever experienced a beloved pastor or spiritual director being taken out of your life, for example, and felt the pain, fear and loneliness of that loss, multiply it a gazillion times and try to imagine the depth of the emotions paralyzing Jesus’ followers as they watched Him being swept up by a cloud.  Were they close to despair, I wonder.  He promised to send the Comforter, the Paraclete, but in the meantime, how they must have agonized.

Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit.


12 thoughts on “The Ascension

  1. Having said that, G, I can’t help thinking maybe that’s why Jesus held off a bit on sending the Paraclete — after the great Inrushing of Him, they would know all the more Whom they had lost from their midst. Perhaps that devastation could only be tempered with both the viewing of Christ’s absolutely singular Ascension before them, and with the anticipation of a wholly new (to them) “face” of God to come. (Jesus knew it would be after the new Pentecost [after the descent of the Holy Spirit] that through the Paraclete’s power via the Son’s priests, He’d be made Flesh and Blood, but the Apostles couldn’t have had such a grasp on it. They were still stunned, I’d guess.) Perhaps the waiting was really a God-given merciful respite for them, and bottomline (in a Baltimore Catechism manner of speaking), they, too, as men were made to know, love, and serve God.. Here, they’d hung around with Him for 3 years as students and friends, but perhaps only by their serving would they know God every bit as much as He’d like. Meanwhile, they still had Mary, and now they had her more closely than ever. Whatever else they would come to know of Mary beyond her being Jesus’ mother, they’d have known, too, that Mary was the utter glue of Jesus’ fledgling doubt they followed her every breath; and the Lord gave them all a safe room in which to wait. Don’t we have that same everything and Everyone as if no time had passed?

    We’ve all lost a beloved priest. It is way better to lose one to transfer than to a fall from grace, similarly to how it’s better to lose a child to the Lord’s garden than to the world’s jungle. It’s a different kind of tears, a sweet sorrow. I can hardly imagine especially the Apostles’ bafflement, but indeed, we share in the earliest Church’s pain as well as her joy.

    (And I love the new look here, too.)

  2. This touched my heart in so many ways. There is not enough space to share the memories. But, indeed, I do know what you mean and thank you for offering this time to me for reflection! God Bless!!!!! Cathy

  3. Hi all; I’ll be back tonight to read some recent comments and respond – was outside most of yesterday because the weather was just gorgeous here, and I’m off to work now. Hope all my friends in the States will have a lovely holiday today!

  4. Thanks, Pia, re the header (and Carol too). Don’t know how the actual template looks to you, though; it’s supposed to have two sidebars on the right, and that’s the way it looks on my laptop (which I use most of the time), but on the upstairs computer it comes out as just one sidebar on the right, stretching all the way down the page. Maybe it depends on which version of Explorer a computer has, or something like that. But it’s a little change, if nothing else!

    Carol, you raise some really key points here – the respite of the waiting period, the drawing closer to Mary, the need to serve in order to really know God. At “Consecrated to Mary” I posted on the feastday of Mary, Queen of Apostles, an excerpt from Ven. Mary of Agreda regarding how/what Mary actually taught the Apostles during the nine days in the Upper Room. And for (or near) Pentecost, I have something from Adrienne von Speyr I’m going to post, which gave me a new understanding of what the coming of the Holy Spirit actually did for the Apostles; she expresses it in a way I truly have not heard before. It is similar in a way to what you are saying here about them knowing God better, but with a little different twist.

    (((Cathy))) “there is not enough space to share the memories.” Just that little phrase is enough to let me know that you know.

  5. To tell you the truth, G, I hadn’t thought much about any of the above ’til now.. I think I wanted to console you and others; hence, I guess we should be thankful I didn’t click on that heart-rending music video ’til many hours after posting!

  6. Yes ma’am. And sometimes nothing helps one or the other, but one and the other get through another day closer to the face-to-Face, and maybe even does some vacuuming. (And not, lol.)

    It’s an interesting phenomena that the older I get, the more my feelings are hurt. I thought I had deliberately left that behind years ago, but somewhere along the way, or all along the way, I embraced greater vulnerability and it is continuing. But there comes that longing to be Known (and loved anyhow). Our vulnerability works well for God and God’s, but it’s hard on this end! I only said that so you’d know why I turned to The Interior Castle one night recently after posting here (actually, I set out to look for The Fire Within, heh, literally, too), and, long story short, the book was open to the pages wherein she speaks of her pain similar to (or exactly like) your own. So, I prayed for you and for all who long for the premier Long-for-able.

  7. Thank you, Carol, for your prayers… there’s no doubt in my mind that your prayers and those of others who may pray for me are a major source of strength and grace in my life, and I hope I help others from time to time too in this way. I wonder if it is possible to open oneself to greater and greater vulnerability without being hurt. I imagine it has much to do with the practice of holy detachment, but our humanity is ever-present, isn’t it. What came to mind is your strong leaning towards Franciscan spirituality, and that perhaps it is your charism to never seek “so much to be consoled as to console,” (and the rest of it too). This is a great gift and the Lord sees what it costs you, and I pray He sends you consolation even though you don’t seek it, in order to sustain you, whenever you least expect it, through means you never anticipated…

  8. Well, He just did so, G. (Thank you.) And now that I’ve swallowed the lump in my throat, let me say I think we can literally sense prayer (lifting the heart–an actual leap of one’s spirits), you know? Prayer for one another is utterly crucial. Even if there can be nothing else done, prayer is not a last resort, it is everything — first, middle and last! Prayer is to put a loved one, a friend, a Poor Soul, a sufferer of any kind right into the Beloved Disciple’s wondrous spot at table–against Christ’s thunderous breast, to hear Him breathe and feel Him laugh. There is no greater remedy, and God knows, He Himself so greatly desires that very thing.

    I think we can also tell the difference between another’s prayer for us, and when the Lord Himself grabs us by the back of the neck like a warm chuckling uncle with a big paw of a hand, and unconditional love. I probably shouldn’t say these things publicly, lol, but you know, even the worst of the world needs a chuckling hot hand on the back of its neck.. and (to paraphrase Ghandi who paraphrased Christ whether he knew it or not), we must become in the world that which we desire the most for ourselves. That is why we desire it, really– right? Through whatever means of prayer, we become a warm hand, a saving smile, a drink of cold clean water or of justice or of empathy, bread broken to feed, and/or olive crushed for its oil.

  9. 🙂 A priest once said to a group of us, “If I fall down on the sidewalk of a heart attack, of course I want you to pray for me. But I also want you to call an ambulance. Please.” 🙂

  10. ROFL! I hear that.. the Lord honors physicians/psychologists/veterinarians/dentists et al by lending some healing properties, but then again, there was that time when husband’s ancient aunt was still hanging onto the top of the car when husband, distracted, slammed the door (as men are wont to do, never believing for a moment that a door can be closed simply). She let out a yelp, as her thumb was now trapped and most agonizingly so. I, picturing shattered bones every whichway, said, “O dear God — I’ll take the kids into Mass — bring Aunt Jeanie to the house and help her soak her hand, if she won’t go to the hospital.” She looked at me as if I had two heads, and gasped, “I’ll be fine — I’ll dip it in the holy water font, and then, onward to Mass.”

    It was as she said! I recalled that people were healed even in the very shadow of Peter, and that is where she was healed. There was no way she would miss Mass for this nonsense. If anything was more wrong than holy water could fix, it could wait an hour. (She was Irish.)

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