ONE @ 50: God’s Ascension, Man’s Exaltation

In honor of ONE magazine’s 50th-anniversary year, the CNEWA blog series, ONE @ 50: From the Vault, aims to revive and explore the wealth of articles published in ONE magazine throughout its history. This feast of the Ascension, reflect on the miracle of Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension into heaven with this meditation, originally published in Summer 1985.

Read an excerpt from “God’s Ascension, Man’s Exaltation” below, then read the full story.

Have you ever tried to look straight into the sun? The brightness of that created orb of light is so stunning that blindness results if we do not avert our gaze. What then can we say of the refulgent splendor of the mystery of Christ’s resurrection? Surely this uncreated brilliance lies beyond the ken of the eyes of our souls. Yet the Psalmist sings: “In Thy light shall we see the light.” (Ps. 35:9)

A prism! If you want to experience the luster of pure natural light without having to dim your eyes before its power, refract that light through a prism and behold the colors of the rainbow! In the same way the church takes the radiance of the Risen Christ and refracts it through the prism of her liturgical life.

Behold the mystery of the Risen Christ rendered accessible to the soul of man: contemplate Him as the liberator of Adam and Eve from sheol; ascending to the Father; and sending the Holy Spirit.

In doing this the Church follows the example of the Gospels. Compare the four accounts of the end of the Master’s sojourn among us in the flesh. Notice that in St. Luke’s account in Chapter 24 the entire mystery is presented in one breathless exclamation: the empty tomb, the announcement of the angels, the vesper meal with the pilgrims to Emmaus, the appearance to the Apostles, the promise of the Spirit, and the Ascension.

Read it once through and see if you don’t have the impression that all these events were experienced as one – in rapid, dizzying succession. After all, it was Eternity breaking down the wall of separation from the world of time. But later St. Luke himself – in the Acts of the Apostles – and the other evangelists came to contemplate the Mystery according to the prismatic pattern the Church would later adopt for its festal cycle: first Pascha (Easter), then the Ascension, and finally Pentecost.

Read more.

Father Romanos Russo is a priest of the Melkite-Greek Catholic Church.

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