Every Sunday at Mass, we recite the Nicene Creed and proclaim our belief that Jesus “ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” (full prayer here) Simple, right?
Let’s use our spiritual imaginations in prayer to dive deeper into this mystery. Picture yourself in friendship with the Apostles, receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit and the commission to be His witness to the ends of the earth. Then Jesus “was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9) What do you notice? How does your heart respond? Can you see His glory?
This scene can still leave us puzzled because it almost feels like He is abandoning His Apostles. This is where we can recall Jesus words, “I am going away and I will come back to you.” (John 14:28) When Jesus is taken from their sight He does not become more distant; surprisingly, the opposite occurs. Jesus’ bodily departure from this particular, geographical location allows Him to become present and accessible to all of humanity.
We can also remember how Luke describes the Apostles leaving with joy after the Ascension. “As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” (Luke 24:51-52) Isn’t it incredible that the Ascension was the cause of joy?
Our Heavenly Father wants us to experience this same joy today because He desires for us to ascend with Jesus. How? Well, through our Baptism, we become children of God and are made holy. By living in this union with Christ, we are invited to mysteriously share in the life of the Trinity and dwell with God forever in Heaven. Through Jesus, we have access to the Father’s house. Heaven becomes accessible!
Will we allow Jesus to stretch our hearts today with longing for our home in Heaven? Together, let us live in the unshakable hope of eternal life with Jesus, who has gone before us.
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Beauty is a foundational method of evangelization in the Catholic Church. How does your church’s architecture, sacred music, liturgies, and clouds of incense point you to your home in Heaven?
Rose Coleman is a contemplative in action who delights in all things beautiful. Her adventurous heart has traveled many places—from circumnavigating the globe on a ship during college to some years in the convent as a religious sister. Exuberant from her childhood, she is an elementary school teacher who learns so much from her students. You can find out more about her here.