Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Thursday

There is a sadness in this day. The Paschal season is over - no longer do we sing “Christ is Risen.” There is a sadness in this day. The plaschanitza is removed from the Holy Table and put away until next year. There is a sadness in this day. Our Lord has left us staring at the sky.

The Ascension
A page from the Bamberg Apocalypse
MS A. II. 42

“O Lord and Giver of Life, when the apostles saw you ascending upon the clouds,a great sadness over came them; they shed burning tears and exclaimed: O our Master, do not leave us orphans; we are your servants whom you loved so tenderly. Since you are most wonderful, send down upon us your all–holy Spirit to enlighten our souls, as you promised.”
– a sticheron of the Ascension

But there is a joy in this day. Christ our Lord has ascended into heaven amid shouts of joy and trumpet blasts. The greatness of this day cannot be overstated. Not only are we saved by Christ’s Incarnation, not only by His death and Resurrection, but also by His Ascension. God became Man so that Man might become God. God took on our human nature. He died in His human nature. He rose in His human nature. And now He ascends in His human nature. Without the Ascension, our human natures do not go to Heaven. It is only in Christ that we are united to God and it is only in Christ’s ascension that our humanity has hope of Heaven.

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