Sunday, May 16, 2010

Under-Celebrating the Ascension

I think we under-celebrate the Ascension, I think it should be as great feast as Christmas.
At Christmas True God enters the world in a human body, at the Ascension True Man enters heaven in a human body. It is not simply "that God goes up with shouts of joy" but that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, goes "up".
In this feast we celebrate Man's entry into Heaven, the corollary to this feast is the Assumption: where Christ our Head has gone, there the Body, Mary the type of the Church, follows.
Today we celebrate flesh and blood in Heaven, sitting at the right hand of God. Quite what this "flesh and blood" is, we do not know, as we don't know what our own glorified bodies will be like.
At the Incarnation the All-Knowing emptied himself and took on human Not-Knowing, the Divine who knew but was incapable of experiencing death, pain and suffering today takes on that experience and ascends to Heaven with it.

In the icon, 9th cent Sinai, note thee relationship with the figure of Christ and his mother her out-stretched praying hands reach up trying to follow.

9 comments:

Michael Petek said...

Actually, we do know what this flesh and blood is. It's identically the same body in which Jesus was born and walked this earth.

Now, what about the comparison with Christmas?

Christmas marks the point at which God keeps His promises to David and Abraham to send the Messiah.

Although Mary was known to be with child at the Annunciation, the traditional practice in royal families is that the child is not officially known to be a boy (and therefore a King or heir apparent) or a girl (and therefore an heir presumptive) until the time of the birth.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Actually, we do know what this flesh and blood is. It's identically the same body in which Jesus was born and walked this earth."

Really, Michael?
I as a good Catholic believe it to be it "his risen, glorified body", what we mean by that we do not know.

Doodler said...

I would beg to disagree with Michael Petek. Jesus was know to be a boy from the moment of his conception at the Annunciation - "You shall bear a Son and name him Jesus..."
Just as the Annunciation marks the Incarnation, so the Ascension marks the return of the incarnate Christ to his Heavenly Father taking with him our humanity.
Christmas could not have happened without the Annunciation and Easter only finds it fulfilment in the Ascension.

Michael Petek said...

Actually, Father, it is identically the same body. Here's what we mean.

Before death made alive by the soul. After death, made alive by the Spirit of God and able to eat a piece of fish in the presence of His disciples.

Identically the same body, because the soul of Christ which came into existence at the moment of conception is immortal and cannot die, and is the substantial form of the body in Him as in each of us.

Otherwise, by what cause was the tomb empty?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Michael,
Empty tomb? "raised by the power of the Holy Spirit" acc to scripture.

Just Jesus' soul immortal?

BJR said...

" I think it should be as great feast as Christmas."

It is in the traditional rite. Both Christmas and Ascension have privileged Octaves of the third order.

Michael Petek said...

What I'm saying is that, by nature, Jesus soul was immortal as ours is. During His life on earth He had a body like ours drawn in its entirety from the flesh of the Virgin Mary.

His body was at the time mortal like ours, capable of death but not liable to it as is the case for everyone but Jesus and Mary.

Jesus truly died, and His soul was truly separated from His body as it descended to the world of the dead, though neither was sundered from the Divinity.

When He rose by His own power on the third day, His soul was reunited to exactly the same body in which He had died, as He still bore the wounds of the Crucifixion.

Identically the same body, only made alive by a different principle. St Paul refers to the difference between the physical body and the spiritual body (psychikos vs pneumatikos).

A body made alive by the soul, and the same body made alive by the Spirit of God.

What herein is in any way unorthodox?

Michael Petek said...

Doodler, you're absolutely right, Our Lady knew that Jesus was a boy from the Annunciation, so did Joseph afterwards, in either case through the message of an angel.

I was referring to the way things work in royal families. A Queen Consort can have a prenatal scan nowadays that tells her whether the baby is a boy or a girl, but officially the sex of the child is unknown.

If the King dies during the pregnancy, then the Crown is likely to pass to his brother if he has one, but not to the child in utero.

Different royal families have different rules for a situation like this. In Jesus' case the angels sang in public at His birth, not at the Annunciation.

Fr Edward said...

Thaks for this... I think your last sentence is going to the meat of my meditations for the next week.