Solemn Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord
The central idea in the Liturgy today is the raising of our hearts towards heaven, so that we may begin to dwell in spirit where Jesus has gone before us. “Christ’s Ascension,” says St. Leo I, “is our own ascension; our body has the hope of one day being where its glorious Head has preceded it” (in the Roman Breviary). In fact, Our Lord had already said in His discourse after the Last Supper, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be (Jn. 14.2-3). The Ascension, then, is a feast of joyful hope, a sweet foretaste of heaven. By going before us, Jesus our Head has given us the right to follow Him there some day, and we can even say with St. Leo, “In the person of Christ, we have penetrated the heights of heaven” (in the Roman Breviary).
As in Christ Crucified we die to sin, as in the Risen Christ we rise to the life of grace, so too, we are raised up to heaven in the Ascension of Christ. This vital participation in Christ’s mysteries is the essential consequence of our incorporation in Him. He is our Head (cf., Eph. 1.22-23); we, as His members, are totally dependent upon Him and intimately bound to His destiny. God, Who is rich in mercy, says St. Paul, for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us… hath quickened us together in Christ… and hath raised us up… and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus (Eph. 2.4-6).
Our right to heaven has been given us, our place is ready; it is for us to live in such a way that we may occupy it some day. Meanwhile this sure way, greatly obscured* from many since the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, is none other than the Traditional Catholic order of things which, since it was God Himself who constituted it, can not fade away to obsolescence – and therefore irrelevancy – as is impiously asserted even by those who occupy key positions in the Vatican. Stand ye on the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls (Jer. 6.16). And Our Lady at Fatima, since the apparition of the guardian angel of Portugal, which preceded Her first apparition, to the last message She delivered to Sr. Lucia, C.D., came precisely to call us back to the traditional ways of Christian living – based as it is on the unchanging principles which Our Lord lived and taught and these same principles consistently understood in the same sense by generations of Catholics prior to Vatican II – and to make us firm in it.
* Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light (Mt. 24.29) – by the sun, according to St. Augustine, is meant Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself; by the moon, the Church, which will appear as involved in darkness (in the traditional Holy Catholic Haydock Bible), cf., our post “The ‘Great Tribulation’“. “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith shall always be preserved, etc.” (Our Lady of Fatima in the final clause of the Second Secret and introducing the Third Secret which shall speak of the fate of Church in Rome, following “etc.”)
Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also (Mt. 6.21). If Jesus is really our treasure, our heart cannot be anywhere but near Him in heaven. This is the great hope of the Christian soul, so beautifully expressed in today’s Liturgy: “O Jesus, be the hope of our hearts, our joy in sorrow, the sweet fruit of our life” (Roman Breviary, hymn for Vespers). “Grant, O Almighty God, that we, too, may dwell in spirit in the heavenly mansions” (Collect of the Mass).