Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Monday, June 2, 2014

The Ascension

The Ascension
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Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.  This, of course, refers to Jesus’s ascending to Heaven 40 days after His Resurrection, as recounted in Acts 1:6-12.  We meditate on this Mystery every time we pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, but I wonder how often we recognize the importance this event has in our understanding of the Incarnation.

Many times I hear converts say that they never really plumbed the depths of the mystery of the Incarnation until they became Catholic.  They had recognized that Jesus took on a human nature so He could die and atone for sin, but they never realized the full implications.

I do not pretend to plumb those depths here, but I would offer one thing to consider.  When Jesus Ascended to Heaven, He did so with both His Divine and Human Natures.  In other words, in Heaven, Jesus remains the God-Man.

Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, took on a human nature 2,000 years ago in the womb of his mother, and He still has it.  He did not divest Himself of that nature after the Resurrection.  He ascended into Heaven with it.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen points out that the Ascension is a clear indication that our human nature is not a barrier to Heaven.

Imagine God becoming Man.  Really, imagine it.  Though He remains God, He is truly man, and not only temporarily, not only as an actor might don a costume to perform a role; He truly becomes man.  God, who is completion, perfection, pure Being, ascended to Heaven, with a human nature, as we have a human nature, to prepare a place for us. 

We could meditate on this forever.  What does it mean, then, to be human?  How incredibly intimate our relationship with God can be!  How humble is our God, and what incredible Love must He have for us, that He would become one of us?  May this feast, and those beautiful ones upcoming - Pentecost, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, the Most Holy Trinity – lead us to deeper prayer, understanding, and love of God.


Note: If you have a thought to add to this reflection, or if I have lacked precision or included any theological error in this post, please email me at