Photo: Raphael, c. 1516–20
Ascending 'Through Him, With Him, and In Him'
The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension
By Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC (Jan 9, 2015)
Seventeenth of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Descent of the Holy Spirit.
[Jesus said,] "[Y]ou will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight. — Acts 1:8-9; see Luke 24:45-53
In the second Glorious mystery of the Rosary, Holy Mother Church calls on us to reflect upon the Ascension of Christ. By His Ascension, human nature is eternally made part of the life of the Trinity, as we hear in the words of the priest as he prepares the bread and wine for consecration: "By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity."
These words of the Mass remind us that Christ became one of us in order that we might be made partakers of the divine nature (see 2 Pt 1:4). He calls us to reign with Him in eternity and to share in His divinity. He begins to share His divinity with us at Baptism. When He calls a man to the priesthood and that man receives the ministry of the forgiveness of sins, the priest shares in a special way in the divine nature of Christ. The Sacrament of Holy Orders confers upon the priest the ministry to lift up what is fallen and to reestablish the kingdom of God in each heart that comes to Christ, through His Church, asking for the forgiveness of sins.
We recall some of His closing words to His Apostles, who had gathered in the Upper Room where Jesus had held the Last Supper. When Jesus said, "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins you retain, they are retained" (Jn 20:23), He handed on to them the greatest aspect of His personal ministry when He was here on earth: that of the forgiveness of sins.
It caused the greatest controversy when He was alive. Many said that only God could forgive sin (see Mt 9:1-8; Mk 2:1-12). But He was God — many of the Jews simply didn't recognize it.
As Christ ascends to the Father, He calls us to keep our thoughts focused on our final end. Our time here on earth is fleeting. It is, by its very nature, passing. We know that a greater good is held in store for us as Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father to prepare a place for each of us in His eternal kingdom.
Let's pray that the season of Lent may be a time of great grace for us, helping us to examine our lives and our consciences in the light of the Ascension. Let us recall that all the blessings and sufferings of this life are fleeting, compared to the glory of the eternal life to come, and seek to view everything through the perspective of Christ's glorious return to the Father, through which heaven is opened to us all.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation