Author: FrancisMary

See What Ascension Teaches Us About Our Bodies

See What Ascension Teaches Us About Our Bodies

Isn’t it great that we can’t see Jesus any longer? That’s the reason we make the Ascension of the Lord a holy day of obligation.

Before the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, He taught the apostles that it will be better that he goes away from them, and that a comforter (Holy Spirit) would be given them, to guide them from this life and unto the next. In His great priestly prayer of John 17, he says a prayer to our Heavenly Father, “…glorify your son.”

What does that mean, and what does it have to do with the Ascension? In English, we call to mind “glory” as some kind of very grand and grudgingly, fame. But coming to the Greek of the New Testament, glory is “doxa ” which is a kind of “shining forth”, which is an illuminating revelation.

If you read the Gospel of John in Saint Jerome’s Latin, the verb “glorify” is interpreted as “clarify.” Which is a great help to understanding the prayer of Jesus asbhe said it in John 17, and also a great help in understanding the importance of the Ascension.

Clarity is however, closely related to humility, when humility is understood as telling the truth which is the shameful truth about ourselves and the wonderful truth about God. Surely, we are fallen, we are sinners; surely God is all-holy; most awesomely true: God is merciful and He fiercely wishes to save us all from our sin.

But, how can we “clarify” those truths, so that they might shine forth, enkindling human sinfulness and divine holiness?

If you wish to know what humans are really like, gaze at the crucified Christ. View us flinging that broken body at the feet of God and shouting, “This is what we think of your son! This is what we think of nature and grace and love and human flesh!”

And then view our Heavenly Father lifting up the Risen Christ, and declaring, “This is what I think of my son! And this is what I think of human flesh! And this is also what I think of nature and grace and my covenant with you!” If we can actually see that, then the pieces of the puzzle start to fall in place.

Truly, God loves his human creatures so much that he desires to save us from sin at a terrible cost to himself, and to save the whole human race, body and soul, through the passion, death and resurrection of his Christ.

That’s why it makes a good sense for the Word-made-flesh to transcend the limits of this world, so that humanity-coined-to-divinity may be eternally present before the throne of God.

And immediately we see that, we can see that talking about Ascension requires us to speak in the same breath of the Assumption of Mary. Because, Mary is the perfect creature, who was made in the image and likeness of God, full of grace, fully in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Mary assumed into Heaven is what human being looks like when cooperating with the saving work of the incarnate Word-of-the-Father.

Mary assumed into Heaven in the other way, illustrates what we as human creatures are supposed to look like in the next phase of life if we live this well in this life.

This Is Where The Ascension of Jesus Into Heaven Took Place

This Is Where The Ascension of Jesus Into Heaven Took Place

All the events in the life of Jesus occurred in a specific locations in the Holy Land. For many of the events that happened we know exactly where they occurred, while for others we only have local oral traditions backing them up.

Coming to the case of the ascension of Jesus into Heaven, the Bible mentions the name of the mountain where the apostles witnessed the miraculous event.

However, St. Luke narrates in the Acts of the Apostles how the disciples of Jesus gathered together and asked him a question. After Jesus spoke the final words, “as they were gazing on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).

After a little while, St. Luke says, “they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away” (Acts 1:12). If you can remember, this is the same “Mount of Olives” where Jesus experienced his “agony in the garden” before being arrested and taken into custody.

But, according to The Golden Legend , a medieval manuscript that contains various traditions, says that the mountain possessed some remarkable symbolism.

On the first note, remember that Jesus rose to heaven from the Mount of Olives, out toward Bethany. This particular mountain, following another translation, was however, called the Mount of Three Lights, because counting from the west the light from the Temple fell upon it by night, for a fire burned continually on the altar; and in the morning it caught the sun’s rays from the east before they reached the city; and the hill’s olive trees produced a plentiful supply of oil, one that feeds light.

Also, even local traditions claim to know the exact spot where Jesus ascended.
Regarding the place from which the ascension of Jesus Christ took place, Sulpicius, bishop of Jerusalem, explains, and the Gloss also says, that when a church was later built there, the spot where Christ had stood could never be covered with pavement; and even more than that, the marble slabs placed there burst upwards splashing into the faces of those who were laying them.

Sulpicius further explains that footmarks in the dust there prove that the Lord had stood on that spot: the footprints comes out to be discernible and the ground still retains the depressions his feet had left.

Nevertheless the veracity of this last story, it goes on to drive home the point that Jesus was truly on this earth and his presence remains with us, even after the ascension.

For we Catholics, we strongly believe that his presence is within the consecrated host at Mass, which fulfills the words of Jesus that, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).

5 Rites You Might Have Never Heard Of

5 Rites You Might Have Never Heard Of

1. The Zaire Use of the Roman Rite

Yes, those are spears. All male servers carry spears throughout the liturgy. The priest wears tribal robes, and the celebrants and servers jubilate around the altar as a means of reverence. The Use was established in 1988 by St. John Paul II.

2. The Syro-Malabar Church & Rite

Members of this church are direct descendants of the Thomas Christians that the Portuguese experienced in 1498 while looking into the Malabar coast of India. They did not break from Rome until 1653 as a result of obscene latinization that forced onto them since 1498. However, in 1923 Pope Pius XI set up a full-fledged Syro-Malabar Catholic hierarchy.

3. The Premonstratensian Rite or Norbertine Rite

The Premonstratensian, or Norbertine, rite varies from the Roman in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Office and the administration of the Sacrament of Penance. The priest will say quietly what the choir sings, as is the situation with the Kyrie and Glorie.

4. The Ambrosian Rite

According to St. Augustine (Confessones, IX, vii), St. Ambrose did renovate sections of the Divine Office, so it is not inconceivable to trust that he is also the founder of the Rite of his namesake.

5. The Ethiopian Rite and Church

In a place that was closed from the Catholic Mission for 200 years, a rich tradition of liturgy has survived. The Church reunited (totally) with Rome in 1930, and has a decent presence in America. Pope Francis, himself, made a great impact on the church and its development remains active.

How the Angelus Can Change the World in 3 Minutes a Day

How the Angelus Can Change the World in 3 Minutes a Day

The Catholic Church traditionally celebrates May as the Month of Mary. It is a time when we honor and recognize the Blessed Virgin Mary for her unique role as the Mother of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Angelus, which is based on scripture, is an ancient Marian prayer that is on the Incarnation. The Angelus only takes approximately one minute to recite, three times daily (typically, in the early morning [at 6:00 a.m., or at least when you wake up], at noon, and in the evening [at 6:00 p.m., or at least before you go to sleep]). We Catholics can transform the world by volunteering to the kingdom of God, and we can start by reciting the Angelus three times a day.

Catechist, writer, and speaker Jared Dees recently released his latest book Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life. At 140 pages, Praying the Angelus shows the prayer itself in a couple of ways: it is rather short, but not in a shallow way, and it gives us the opportunity to step away from the busy-ness of life in order to ponder on what actually matters.

Praying the Angelus is divided into three parts: 1) “An Invitation,” 2) “Angelus Meditations,” and 3) “Regina Caeli Meditations.” The following are examples of each section, which will hopefully inspire you to both read Dees’ book and to take up the devotion of praying the Angelus three times a day (hint: you can start praying the Angelus today – you do not have to wait to read Dees’ book first, but studying the book will aid you to comprehend the relevance of the prayer even more).

As Dees expressed,

“I invite you to come along – to pray the Angelus with me and thousands of other Catholics around the world – and comprehend how it can transform your life and the lives of the people you know and love around you.”

“An Invitation”

In this section, Dees shares with us the historical background of the Angelus, as well as how to pray it. In the chapter “Why Pray the Angelus Today?,” Dees shares the following regarding the relevance of encouraging the prayer of the Angelus in modern times: “I want to place [the Angelus] in the context of the larger cultural milieu in which we find ourselves in the twenty-first century. The devotion, though centuries old, is unknown to most people in the Church recently.”

“Angelus Meditations”

Here, Dees goes through the sequence of the recitation of the Angelus, providing reflections based on the scriptural context of each line. He likewise gives a meditation to invite a deeper comprehension of how the Angelus can draw us to greater gratitude of how we can celebrate God’s presence in our life for the entire day. In relation to Dees, “My hope is that these reflections, whether read intermittently, all at once, or in bits and pieces, will encourage deeper meditation on how the words that you pray make an impact at this specific moment in your life.”

“Regina Caeli Meditations”

In the third and final section of Praying the Angelus, Dees guides us on a reflection of another well-known Marian prayer, the “Regina Caeli” (“Queen of Heaven”). the Regina Caeli is usually prayed during the Easter season. As in the previous section, Dees shows a reflective description of the scriptural context of each part of the prayer, along with a meditation on this aspect of personal devotion. Dees brings to our the very reason why both the Angelus and the Regina Caeli bring us to a better understanding of how much the Lord loves us and wants to center our lives around him: “[Mary] lived a life of total service to and love for God. She opened herself up to God’s will in her life and always stayed in the background. Look closely at her role in the Gospels, in Acts, and even in the letters of the New Testament; she is not the focus of attention. Instead, the attention centers on her son and on the work of the Holy Spirit in this world. She lived out what she expressed in the Magnificat (see Luke 1:46-55), declaring the greatness of the Lord and not her own” (page 108).

In the midst of a very busy life, imagine how much more personal purification we could foster, not to mention how much good we could bring into the world, by holding on to the same humility and selflessness that Mary exhibited. Reading Praying the Angelus is worthwhile because it inspires a greater devotion to this ancient Marian devotion during a time when we need increasingly contemplative laypersons in the midst of the world. Buy a copy for yourself and for the most stressed-out people you know, reminding them that we would all do well to spare three minutes a day to commit ourselves to this ancient Marian devotion that primarily directs us to step outside of ourselves and of the world and into a reflection on the eternal importance of the Paschal Mystery.

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