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.

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