May 5, 2016
My dear fellow pilgrims—I trust Alyssa won’t mind if I steal her greeting—
The disciples experienced the absence of the Lord twice in ways that we never will: in the days between crucifixion and the Resurrection, the body of Jesus dead to the breath of life; and in the days between the Ascension and the Pentecostal descent of the Spirit, the body of Jesus lifted from the land of time with no one to fill the void of his absence.
Everything for them was concentrated then on Jesus: his one body, with his historical set of hands and fingernails, his eyes and the shape of his nose, the lips that curled into smiles of recognition—Peter, do you love me? (Jesus 21:15)
They, even into this moment of the Ascension, did not understand and had not tasted the fullness of Reality: that Jesus ascends because the Ascension is the Father’s way of completing his recognition of Jesus’ self-gift on the Cross; Jesus ascends because, without ascending, the fire of the Paraclete could not touch the surface of the earth or of human souls (cf. John 16:7).
The Ascension is Jesus’ way of calling us to perceiving Reality in all its fullness. To opening our intellects, wills, and hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit, who teaches all things (cf. John 14:26), and in letting this very Spirit draw us into a Reality far vaster than that of Jesus Incarnate alone—a Jesus that we can touch, but not a Jesus we can know from the inside out, not a Jesus whose Spirit we can make our own. It is this Spirit who shows us more and more deeply, with the passage of time, the life of Jesus that can now fully become our own, burning us with love, so that in Heaven, we are nothing other than torches shining brightly before the throne of the everlasting God.
Veni, Creator Spiritus!
The first novena of Holy Mother Church begins today. Pray it here.