Thought for the Day – 26 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Ascension of Jesus
“After His glorious Resurrection from the dead, Jesus appeared to His Apostles. For forty days He instructed them concerning the Kingdom of God. When He had announced to His followers, that He would send the Holy Spirit to give them the enlightenment and courage to preach the Gospel, they gathered together on the Mount of Olives and saw Him rise upwards until a bright cloud hid Him from their view. The Mystery of the Ascension contains a lesson for us. We must be detached from the world and brought closer to Heaven, which is our true home. We are so attached to earthly things because money, reputation and pleasure are closer to our hearts than the thought of God or of eternity. We shall have to leave all these things behind soon enough, however. When death comes, the world will slip away from us and the soul will stand alone before God.
Let us begin to detach ourselves from worldly affairs and to make Heaven the object of our desires. Why should we be sorry or afraid, or both, to leave this earth? Remember the teaching of St Paul “Here we no permanent city but we seek for the city that is to come” (Heb 13:14). “For me to live is Christ,” he said, “and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). “desiring to depart and to be with Christ, a lot by far the better” (Phil 1:23).
Let us pray in the beautiful words of the Church: “Lord, grant that while we are living in this changing world, we may aspire to the true happiness of Heaven, so that in the midst of earthly vicissitudes, our hearts maybe content in this ambition.” (Roman Breviary).
Let us not be afraid of death, for it is only the Gate of Heaven!”
Quote/s of the Day – 26 May – The Ascension of Our Lord
“My sheep follow me,” says Christ. By a certain God-given grace, believers follow in the footsteps of Christ. No longer subject to the shadows of the Law , they obey the commands of Christ, and guided by His words, rise through grace, to His own dignity, for they are called children of God. When Christ ascends into heaven, they also follow Him.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Why do we on earth, not strive to find rest with Him in Heaven, even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven. He is also with us and we, while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His Divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in Heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there by love!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
Our Hearts are Filled with Joy Today The Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, UK
Greeting the dawn of this great feast Our hearts are filled with joy today, When we recall how Christ our God Ascended to His realms of light.
Winner forever in the strife Against the prince of death and sin, Glory of all creation’s hope, Before the Father’s face He stands.
Brightest of clouds hid Him from sight, But pledge remained of life to come, Since Paradise can now be ours Which our first parents lost by sin.
Greatest of joys mankind can claim, That He whom holy Mary bore, Reigns at His Father’s side in pow’r, His Cross and bitter Passion past.
Saving Avenger of our race, To Him our grateful hearts we raise; In His immortal deity Our mortal nature dwells on high.
We have a lasting cause for joy, Which all the saints and angels share; Theirs is the bliss of seeing Him, And we still know that He is near.
Jesus, in splendour bright enthroned, Keep all our hearts at rest in You, Sending Your Spirit down to us, To teach the Father’s love for all. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 26 May – The Ascension of Our Lord – Acts 1:1-11, Mark 16:14-20
“And the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into Heaven and took His seat at the Right Hand of God.” – Mark 16:19
REFLECTION – “And so, while at Easter it was the Lord’s Resurrection which was the cause of our joy, our present rejoicing is due to His Ascension into Heaven. With all due solemnity, we are commemorating that day on which our poor human nature was carried up in Christ, above all the Hosts of Heaven, above all the ranks of Angels, beyond those Heavenly Powers, to the very throne of God the Father.
It is upon this ordered structure of divine acts, that we have been firmly established, so that the grace of God may show itself still more marvelous when, in spite of the withdrawal from our sight of everything that is rightly felt to command our reverence, faith does not fail, hope is not shaken, charity does not grow cold. It was in order that we might be capable of such blessedness, that on the fortieth day after His Resurrection, after He had made careful provision for everything concerning the preaching of the Gospel and the Mysteries of the New Covenant, our Lord Jesus Christ was taken up to Heaven before the eyes of His Disciples and so, His Bodily Presence among them, came to an end.
From that time onward, He was to remain at the Father’s Right Hand, until the completion of the period, ordained by God, for the Church’s children to increase and multiply, after which, in the same Body with which He ascended, He will come again to judge the living and the dead. And so, our Redeemer’s Visible Presence has passed into the Sacraments. Our faith is nobler and stronger because, empirical sight has been replaced by a reliable teaching, whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high.” – St Leo the Great (400-461) Pope , Great Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 74).
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that as we do believe Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Saviour to have this day ascended into the heavens, so we may also in heart and mind, ascend and with Him continually dwell. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 26 May – The Ascension of Our Lord
Sing We Triumphant Hymns of Praise By St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
Sing we triumphant hymns of praise, New hymns to Heaven exulting raise. Alleluia, alleluia. Christ, by a road before untrod, Ascendeth to the Throne of God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. The holy apostolic band Upon the Mount of Olives stand, Alleluia, alleluia. And with the Virgin Mother see Jesu’s resplendent Majesty. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
To whom the Angels, drawing nigh, “Why stand and gaze upon the sky?” Alleluia, alleluia. “This is the Saviour!” thus they say, “This is His noble triumph day!” Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
“Again ye shall behold Him, so As ye today have seen Him go.” Alleluia, alleluia. In glorious pomp ascending high, “Up to the portals of the sky.” Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
O grant us thitherward to tend, And with unwearied hearts ascend, Alleluia, alleluia. Toward Thy Kingdom’s Throne, where Thou, As is our faith, art seated now. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Be Thou our Joy and Strong Defence, Who art our Future Recompense. Alleluia, alleluia. So shall the Light that springs from Thee Be ours through all eternity. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
O Risen Christ, aAcended Lord, All praise to Thee, let earth accord, Alleluia, alleluia. Who art, while endless ages run, With Father and with Spirit One. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The ASCENSION of OUR LORD – 26 May By Abbot Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875) Excerpt
The Sun of the fortieth day has risen in all His splendour! The earth, which shook with gladness at the Birth of our Emmanuel (Ps. xcv. xcvi. xcvii.), now thrills with a strange emotion. The Divine series of the Mysteries of the Man-God is about to close. Heaven has caught up the joy of earth. The Angelic Choirs are preparing to receive their promised King and their Princes stand at the Gates, that they may open them when the signal is given of the mighty Conqueror’s approach (Ibid. xxiii. 7). The holy souls, that were liberated from Limbo on the morning of the Resurrection, are hovering round Jerusalem, waiting for the happy moment when Heaven’s gate, closed by Adam’s sin, shall be thrown open and they shall enter, in company with their Redeemer: a few hours more and then to Heaven! Meanwhile, our Risen Jesus has to visit His Disciples and bid them farewell, for they are to be left, for some years longer, in this vale of tears.
They are in the Cenacle, impatiently awaiting His coming. Suddenly He appears in their midst. Of the Mother’s joy, who would dare to speak? As to the Disciples and the holy Women, they fall down and affectionately adore the Master, Who has come to take His leave of them. He deigns to sit down to table with them, He even condescends to eat with them, not, indeed, to give them proof of His Resurrection, for He knows that they have no further doubts of the Mystery but now that He is about to sit at the Right Hand of the Father, He would give them this endearing mark of familiarity. O admirable repast! in which Mary, for the last time in this world, is seated side by side with her Jesus and in which the Church, (represented by the Disciples and the holy Women,) is honoured by the visible presidency of her Head and Spouse. …
Then assuming a tone of authority, such as none but a God could take, He says to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved but he that believeth not, shall be condemned (Ibid. xvi. 15, 16). And how shall they accomplish this mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world? how shall they persuade men to believe their word? By Miracles. And these signs, continues Jesus, shall follow them that believe – in My Name, they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents;,and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick and they shall recover (St. Mark, svi. 17, 18). He would have Miracles to be the foundation of His Church, just as He had made them the argument of His own Divine Mission. The suspension of the laws of nature proves to us that it is God Who speaks, we must receive the word and humbly believe it. …
But the hour of separation is come. Jesus rises: His blessed Mother and the hundred and twenty persons assembled there, prepare to follow Him. The Cenacle is situated on Mount Sion, which is one of the two hills within the walls of Jerusalem. The holy group traverses the City, making for the eastern Gate, which opens on the Valley of Josaphat. It is the last time that Jesus walks through the faithless City. He is invisible to the eyes of the people who denied Him but visible to His Disciples and goes before them, as, heretofore, the pillar of fire led on the Israelites. How beautiful and imposing a sight! Mary, the Disciples and the holy Women, accompanying Jesus in His Heaven-ward journey, which is to lead Him to the Right Hand of His Eternal Father! It was commemorated in the Middle-Ages by a solemn Procession before the Mass of Ascension Day. What happy times were those, when Christians took delight in honouring every action of our Redeemer! They could not be satisfied, as we are, with a few vague notions, which can produce nothing but an equally vague devotion! …
According to a tradition, which has been handed down from the earliest ages of Christianity (Constit. Apost., lib. v. cap. xix), it is mid-day, the same hour that He had been raised up, when nailed to His Cross. Giving His Blessed Mother a look of filial affection and another of fond farewell to the rest of the group, who stand around Him, Jesus raises up His Hands and blesses them all. Whilst thus blessing them, He is raised up from the ground whereon He stands and ascends into Heaven (St. Luke, xxiv. 51). Their eyes follow Him, until a cloud comes and receives Him out of their sight (Acts, i. 9).
Yes, Jesus is gone! The earth has lost her Emmanuel! … During the Forty days He has deigned to spend with us, since His Resurrection, our faith has made us cling to Him: we would fain have kept Him with us forever but the hour is come, He has left us; yes, our dearest Jesus is gone! O happy the souls that He had taken from Limbo! they have gone with Him and, for all eternity, are to enjoy the heaven of His visible presence.
The Disciples are still steadfastly looking up towards Heaven, when lo! two Angels, clad in white robes, appear to them, saying: Ye men of Galilee! why stand ye looking up to heaven? This Jesus, Who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as ye have seen Him going into heaven (Acts, i. 10, 11)! He has ascended, a Saviour; He is to return, as Judge; between these two events is comprised the whole life of the Church on earth. We are, therefore, living under the reign of Jesus as our Saviour, for He has said: God sent not His Son into the world to Judge the world, but that the world might be Saved by Him (St. Joh, iii. 17) and to carry out this merciful design, He has just been giving to His Disciples, the mission to go throughout the whole world and invite men, whilst yet there is time, to accept the mystery of Salvation! … The Angels said to the Apostles: This Jesus shall come, as ye have seen Him going into heaven: happy we, if, during His absence, we shall have so unreservedly loved and served Him, as to be able to meet Him, with confidence, when He comes to judge us!
Nostra Signora di Caravaggio / Our Lady of Caravaggio, Lombardy, Italy (1432) – 26 May:
Title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared in an apparition on 26 May 1432 in the countryside outside Caravaggio, Lombardy, Italy. Giannetta de’ Vacchi Varoli was cutting hay in a field when the Virgin appeared. Mary requested penance from and a chapel built by the locals. A new spring of healing water appeared in the hay field. The apparition anniversary became a day of pilgrimage to the Shrine of Santa Maria del Fonte built at the site and devotion to the Madonna of Caravaggio spread through the region and eventually around the world. In 1879, Italians from Lombardy built a chapel for their settlement in southern Brazil. As it was the only sacred art that any of them possessed, they dedicated the Chapel to the Madonna di Caravaggio. Today the shrine hosts over a million pilgrims annually. Patronage – Diocese of Cremona, Italy.
St Alphaeus St Anderea Kaggwa Bl Andrea Franchi St Becan of Cork Bl Berengar of Saint-Papoul St Damian the Missionary St Desiderius of Vienne St Pope Eleuterus St Felicissimus of Todi St Fugatius the Missionary St Gioan Ðoàn Trinh Hoan St Guinizo of Monte Cassino St Heraclius of Todi Bl Lambert Péloguin of Vence
St Odulvald of Melrose St Paulinus of Todi St Peter Sanz St Ponsiano Ngondwe St Priscus of Auxerre and Companions St Quadratus of Africa St Quadratus the Apologist St Regintrudis of Nonnberg St Simitrius of Rome and Companions St Zachary of Vienne