This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the Ascension of the Lord. This prayer is old. Really old. It dates back to the year 444 and comes from Sermon 73, written by St. Leo the Great.
Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
This week we are putting God to the task. We are asking him to put two things into motion: to gladden us with holy joys and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving.
Why? Because. Because is a word that mothers of young children hear a lot. I want a cookie because I’m hungry. I want something, I need something, I’m desperate for something because I have a need that I want fulfilled. Today we ask for gladdened joy and to rejoice with thanksgiving because Christ has ascended and where He goes, we can follow.
Scripture and Church teaching tell us that Christ is the Head, we are the body. Have you noticed that where your head goes, your body follows? When my head wants to go the refrigerator to look for a snack, my body has always agreed to go along. Likewise, where the Head that is Jesus goes, the Body is called to follow. That is why Christ’s Ascension is our exaltation.
The two natures of Jesus, his humanity and his divinity, cannot be separated. Our humanity has an unbreakable bond with His divinity. When Christ rose from the dead, humanity rose. When he ascended into heaven, so did humanity. God has “raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6)
We are seated with Jesus in heaven. Note the tense of the verb, it is not past-tense “were” nor does scripture say that we “will be” seated. We ARE seated with Jesus in heaven. Our citizenship IS in heaven. (Phil 3:20)
What does this mean? You and I are heaven on earth. When we walk into a room, we bring heaven with us. When we enter into prayer, we are heaven conversing with heaven. Because of our exaltation that we received with the Ascension of God’s son, we bring God’s presence and his will on earth as it is in heaven.
Thank you for praying with me,