A sweet respite from all the temporal horrors. Happy feast, happy Holy Hope!
The Ascension is the Second Glorious Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary. Fruit of the Mystery: Hope.
Hope is an Infused Virtue. The only way to lose it is by intentionally committing the mortal sin of despair. The only way you can “lose hope” is to literally throw hope away, in a deliberate act of the will. If you have done that, and have handed yourself over to fear, anxiety, panic attacks, benzos… you need to get to Confession and snap out of it. The book has been written, and you know how it ends. What exactly are you despairing?
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, Patroness of the Americas,
make intercession for the Holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the Ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the True God,
obtain for us from thy Most Holy Son the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance.
I penned the following in 2020 for this feast, during peak lockdown. And here we stand.
“He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
Forty days after Easter, Our Lord ascended into Heaven, straight up into a cloud. The Ascension is mysterious for several reasons. For one thing, you would think such a startling sight would be described in great detail in the Gospels, but this isn’t the case. Matthew and John don’t even mention it. Luke speaks of it briefly at the end of his Gospel, and in more detail in Acts. Mark’s account is the Gospel reading at Mass today (1962), “He upbraided them…” It appears in the second half of the 16th and final chapter of Mark’s gospel, which is itself a mystery: Many ancient manuscripts are missing these last seven verses.
Another mystery are the events leading up to the Ascension. Namely, the events of the 40 days Our Lord remained, appearing several times in various ways, even eating and drinking with the apostles. The most complete rendering is in John; the Synoptic Gospels are all but silent. It strikes me akin to the very few words attributed directly to our Blessed Mother, and the total silence of her most chaste spouse. Deepening this mystery is that John ends his Gospel by telling us there were countless other things that Jesus did that are not written down, and if they were, the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. Have you ever meditated on that?
Another mystery is the need for the upbraiding. These men saw more miracles than could fill books that could fill the world, yet they were still a wretched bunch of unbelievers, who needed one last ass-kicking before Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father? On the surface, not a very encouraging commentary on the state of man. This seems to tempt us to despair.
On the contrary!
In the Mysteries of the Rosary, the Ascension is the Second Glorious. The Fruit of the Mystery is HOPE, which is also the second Theological Virtue. Have you meditated on Hope? It’s not some sweet soothing Kathy, just wish all your troubles away, hush hush don’t cry, things will get better, sweetie. No.
Hope is rooted in the knowledge that God is not a jerk, that God keeps his promises, and that we can and should trust in Him. It is standing firm in your faith, grounded by right reason, knowing that God is in control. Hope goes beyond simply desiring some future good; hope is the desire for a future good accompanied by the expectation of attaining it. https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07465b.htm
We are living through an unprecedented time in history. Don’t let your normalcy bias cloud current events. An antipope has usurped the Petrine See, and seemingly the whole Church doesn’t mind. We’ve seen the anti-church emerge and strut like a peacock… we are talking about open idol worship inside St. Peter’s, lead by the antipope… and it is allowed to pass. And now the entire world has been turned upside down in a matter of weeks. Entire empires are intentionally self-destructing over a mild virus, cheered on by their own citizenry, to the delight of the all the worst actor agitators, undergirded with communism and satanism.
All of this is converging with you in the middle of it. God chose you to be born into this age. What an absolute honor that is. We are called to action, through both spiritual warfare and concrete action in the natural realm. Act, and God will act. Act, grounded in faith, spurred by hope, intentioned with charity. We know how this ends: God wins, and He wants you on the winning team. Assume the bearing that victory is yours, and expect to attain it.
Blessed feast to all.
Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who firmly believe that Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have ascended this day into heaven, may also ourselves dwell in mind on heavenly things. – Collect, Feast of the Ascension
One thought on “Feast of the Ascension: Sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life”
Happy Feast Mark