By Francis Fernandez-Carvajal
2/86.2 His Ascension strengthens and nourishes our desire for Heaven. The hope of Heaven should be fostered.
In a sermon to commemorate today’s solemnity St Leo the Great said: Today we are not only made possessors of Paradise but with Christ we have ascended, mystically but also really, to the highest Heavens and have won through Christ a grace more wonderful than the one we had lost.
The Ascension strengthens and nourishes our hope of attaining Heaven. It invites us always to lift up our heart, as the preface of the Mass says, and seek the things that are above. Our hope is very great because Christ himself has gone to prepare a dwelling place for us.
Jesus is in Heaven with his glorified Body, with the signs of his redemptive sacrifice and with the marks of his Passion, marks which Thomas could see and touch, marks which bring about our salvation. The Sacred Humanity of Christ has its natural place in Heaven but he who gave his life for us awaits us there. Christ awaits us. We are ‘citizens of Heaven’ (Phil 3:20), and at the same time fully-fledged citizens of this earth, in the midst of difficulties, injustices and lack of understanding, but also in the midst of the joy and serenity that comes from knowing that we are children of God ...
If, in spite of everything, Jesus’ ascension into Heaven leaves a certain taste of sadness in our souls, let us go to his Mother, as the Apostles did. ‘They returned to Jerusalem ... and they prayed with one mind ... together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus’.
The hope of Heaven will fill our day with joy. We will imitate the Apostles who, in the words of St Leo the Great, benefited so greatly from the Ascension of our Lord that all that beforehand had caused them fear now caused them joy. From that moment on, their souls were fixed in contemplation on the divinity seated at the right hand of the Father; the very vision of his body was no obstacle to their believing with their minds illumined by faith that Christ had not separated himself from his Father when he descended, and had not separated himself from his disciples when he ascended.
 St Leo the Great, Homily I on the Ascension
 cf John 14:2
 cf Apoc 5:6
 St. J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 126
 St Leo the Great, Sermon 74, 3
Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal
Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.