I was a Navy brat growing up. Our family is one with a long-standing tradition of Naval service, and most of them, including my dad, served on submarines spending the better part of each year at sea. All of my early years were spent with my dad often missing important milestones: birthdays, Christmas and Easter, plays I was a part of, and especially the day-to-day triumphs, sadness, and happenings of my childhood. Being before the age of cell phones and the Internet, our only actual contact was through handwritten letters received when he was docked at ports.
My dad, however, in his wisdom and love, spent hours before each deployment making cassette recordings of him reading our favorite bedtime stories. He knew there would be many moments where we missed him and longed to cuddle up and be close to him, so he created a special way to maintain our connection. In his long absences, we were still left with a piece of him: his voice and the shared enjoyment of a story.
It’s been forty days since Easter, and the Apostles are rejoicing at having Jesus back amongst them, eagerly anticipating His next move in restoring the kingdom. While they have in mind a physical restoration, Jesus’ plan isn’t to stay on earth. His mission has been completed, and on today’s feast, He ascends back to the heavenly realm finalizing his earthly ministry.
But, oh how He loved them, and how that love extended to followers throughout the ages all the way down to us. He left not just a memory but two major parts of Himself: God the Holy Spirit Who descends to dwell with us ten days later on the Feast of Pentecost, and Jesus Himself present to us in the Eucharistic feast.
Jesus didn’t abandon us when He ascended into Heaven, but just like the loving Father that He is, He left us tangible connections for each of us to know His love.
This section of the Catechism on the Holy Spirit addresses the mysteries of Pentecost.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother to four boys while living in a 200 year old farmhouse. When not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or snagging amazing antique furniture deals. You can find out more about her here.