On the Ascension of our Lord

“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 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 he 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 Our faith is nobler and stronger because empirical sight has been replaced by a reliable teaching whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high.”

-Leo the Great, taken from Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament, vol II, Mark, p. 254.

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