39 — The Ascension.

The Ascension.

Read St. Luke xxiv.  51; Acts i.  9.

[51] And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven.

[9] And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight.

1.  As the apostles gaze upon their Lord in His Divine Beauty, He slowly rises through the air, and the glorious vision fades away from their sight, until at length an intervening cloud hides Him entirely from them.  They still stand there gazing upwards.  Their hearts, their affections, their hopes, their interests, nay, their very lives, have gone with Him to heaven.  Henceforward they are risen with Christ into heaven; and so they must seek those things that are above.  I did not see Christ ascend, but I know it by faith.

2.  Why had Christ left them?  Not for His own sake, but for theirs.  He might have remained with them if it had been for their advantage; but then they would not have been able to live a life of faith, or to prove their fidelity by their outward remembrance of Him whom they saw no longer.  It would be no benefit to us if Christ were still visibly present among us.  It would deprive us of the merit of loving Him that is invisible, and believing in Him though we see Him not.

3.  Besides, Christ in His wondrous love has not left us.  He is present in every church under the Eucharistic species.  There we can talk to Him, pray to Him, praise Him, listen to His voice speaking to our souls — everything save see Him with our eyes.  One day we shall see Him, and then indeed our joy will be full.


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