My friends, look up! Look up not in imitation of the apostles who watched Jesus leave them as he was lifted into the heavens.
Look up to see his coming! The feast of the Ascension “is the ever-new ‘moment’ of Christ’s coming,” says Jean Corbon in his masterful text Wellspring of Worship.
The early Christians, who commissioned great mosaics of the ascended Lord in the apses of their ancient basilicas, knew that when they gathered to manifest and become the body of Christ in the liturgy, Jesus Christ was manifested as both present, here among them, and as coming. He, who ascended to the Father’s right hand, was constantly drawing us, his body, after him.
Translated that means, the ascended Christ brings humanity into the very heart of the Godhead.
In a recent class on liturgical theology the professor said it this way: The divine persons of the Trinity have invited created persons into the home in which they live in their perfect communion of life. Everyone’s “home address,” in a sense, will one day be the Holy Trinity.
These next few weeks we will immerse ourselves in the mysteries of the Ascension, Pentecost, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, and the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Entering the life of the Trinity
In these day reflect upon the most momentous moment of your life: your baptism. In this sacrament you experienced an event, the action of the holy Trinity that changed the course of your life forever.
Through your baptism you were incorporated into the love of Christ and the life of the Church. In being washed by the waters of Baptism, you were forever changed and are sealed with an indelible spiritual mark, or character, that enables you to participate in a full sharing in the life of the Church.
The Catechism states that this sacrament “signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ.” (CCC 1239)
Start reflecting on your baptism here >
Sanctified and divinized by the Spirit
From the very beginning of Christian history, holy men and women have reflected on Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and have taught that the sacred transformation that occurs in the eucharistic liturgy is a sign and a cause of the transformation that should occur in the lives of all those who receive this great sacrament of Christ’s love.
It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies and changes the bread and wine during the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass into the body and blood of Jesus. It is the divine Holy Spirit who sanctifies and divinizes people through the Eucharist. Cyril of Alexandria testifies to this when he wrote: “The holy body of Christ then gives life to those in whom it is […] being commingled with our body.” And also, ultimately, the aim of partaking of the Eucharist is for believers to be made partakers of the divine nature, to be made holy (On John).
Deepen your reflection on the Eucharist here >
10 ways to live a more contented life
“I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.”
These are the words of Saint Josephine Bakhita, who as a young girl had been sold into slavery in the Sudan and had suffered indescribable suffering, torture, physical and psychological abuse.
Knowing that she was loved and always had been loved through her whole life led to great happiness for Bakhita. Knowing ourselves to be loved we can surrender ourselves to Love even in the unfairness of life because we are certain that Love is with us. “I am awaited by this Love.” This Love is a person who deeply cares about me. His love alone is what makes my life good.
We most probably will not live through as destructive an experience as slavery and human trafficking as did Bakhita, and yet trauma does touch in many ways our spirits and sear our souls. For some of us more than others. But all of us in some way bear wounds that bring tears to our eyes.
Often it can take many years, often well into our adult life, until we can settle into a deep awareness of being loved. Encountering Jesus in the sacraments chips away at our fears and heals our wounds so that we can so gradually begin to sense that our spirits live on the very Breath of God.
Read Josephine Bakhita’s incredible story and 10 ways to live a more contented life >
My friends, remember: Sursum corda—Upward, hearts!
Image Credit: Benjamin West, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
One thought on “Sursum corda—Upward, hearts!”
Loved reading this
This is such a beautifully written blog post. The idea of looking up to see Christ’s coming is so powerful and it’s amazing to think about how our baptism brings us into the love of Christ and the life of the Church. I’m curious, with the upcoming Feast of the Ascension, Pentecost, and other feasts, how do you personally connect with these mysteries in your own life and prayer?