Thursday, 14 October 2021

14 October, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

The Second Glorious Mystery

The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven

1. Forty days after His glorious resurrection Jesus came with all His friends, among them His Mother, to the Mount of Olives. This area had already witnessed the opening phase of His passion, which was all the more poignant, perhaps, because in Gethsemane it was not His body which was lacerated by scourges and nails, but His soul which experienced the agonising vision of the sins and ingratitude of the human race. Now, however, He is here with a glorified body as the conqueror of sin and of death. He looks for the last time on His small band of followers, to whom He has entrusted His mission of transforming the entire universe by preaching and putting into practice the Gospel message throughout the world. Now He promises them the Holy Spirit, Who will give them the power to overcome evil. Then He is lifted up towards Heaven, until a bright cloud hides Him from their sight.

Perhaps the Blessed Mother was the last to take her eyes off the disappearing cloud which had removed Jesus from view. Her human eyes never saw again the beloved figure of her divine Son, but in her soul she saw Him entering triumphantly into Heaven among choirs of Angels and sitting at the right hand of the Eternal Father. She saw, and thought with infinite yearning of the not too distant day when she would have passed from mortal exile into the everlasting happiness of Heaven, where she would embrace her divine Son again in an ecstasy of love.

We have all been called to ascent to Heaven with Jesus and Mary. Let us remember, however, that only the innocent and the repentant can be admitted into Paradise. If we have been unfortunate enough to have lost our baptismal innocence, only the second way is left to us – the way of penance. We must purify ourselves of our sins by means of good works.

2. We must ascend higher and higher towards the summit of Christian perfection.

In the course of our ascent we must never stop and decide that we have gone far enough. To stop would inevitably mean going back. Jesus and Mary are inviting and encouraging us to go higher and higher.

Have we been purified of sin, the defiler of the soul and the destroyer  of human dignity? Have we an intense horror even of venial sin, which separates us from God and kills the life of grace? It is still not enough; we must go higher.

Are we generous and unselfish in the fight to achieve holiness, guarding ourselves against the evil suggestions of the world, the flesh, and the devil? It is still not enough; we must continue to advance.

Do we carry the daily cross which God has entrusted to us and accept the burden with perfect resignation to His Holy Will? Very good, but even this is not enough.

3. O God, what more must we do for You? One thing only, He replies. We must belong altogether to Him, love only Him, and work only for Him. Then we shall have completed our ascent and shall be able to say with St. Paul: “It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) This is the final goal which we must strive whole-heartedly to attain.

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