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This year, perhaps more than usual, I notice the expected flood of blog posts about the Ascension of the Lord to be focussing on one particular element. An important element to be sure (perhaps the core aspect of the feast we celebrate today. I, too, won’t be ignoring it, so let’s launch into the blogging.

I’ll start with a text from the Gospel of John, a section of the High Priestly Prayer (chapter 17, verses 1 to 5):

After saying this, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; so that, just as you have given him power over all humanity, he may give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him. And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world existed.

If we considered this text next to the Ascension narrative, one line leads us into the element I mentioned above. “Just as you have given him power over all humanity, he may give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him”. Jesus does not ask for glorification for His own sake or that of His Father. No,  he asks it for us. That His glorification may give us eternal life.

At Christmas we celebrate that God became man. From the very beginning the Church teaches us that Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God. This human nature allowed Him to share our lives; our joys, but also our troubles. In the Gospels there are numerous instances of that very human element: Jesus attends wedding parties, has dinner with friends, mourns their death and travels the human society in which He was born. This humanity was taken to Golgotha, suffered and died on the Cross, but was then taken through death into new life. We can’t do that for ourselves, but God can, and He did.

And like He led the way in defeating death, so too does He take the first step in leading His and our humanity towards heaven. And, as is almost expected of Jesus, He does so in a very basic and down-to-earth (if you’ll pardon the pun) way. He shows us the way by going it Himself. And from His place at the right-hand of the Father – the place of humanity at the Lord’s side – He helps us by promising to send us the heavenly advocate, the Holy Spirit:

John baptised with water but, not many days from now, you are going to be baptised with the Holy Spirit. (Acts, 1:5)

Ascension Day does not stand alone. It comes from Christmas and Easter and then leads into Pentecost. This very human journey of the Lord has become a heavenly one, and so will our humanity become heavenly too. Jesus has led the way, and now calls us to follow Him, in our earthly life, but ultimately with heaven on the horizon.

Blessed Ascension Day!

The Ascension of Christ, by Salvador Dali (1958)

About this blog

I am a Dutch Catholic from the north of the Netherlands. In this blog I wish to provide accurate information on current affairs in the Church and the relation with society. It is important for Catholics to have knowledge about their own faith and Church, especially since these are frequently misrepresented in many places. My blog has two directions, although I use only English in my writings: on the one hand, I want to inform Dutch faithful - hence the presence of a page with Dutch translations of texts which I consider interesting or important -, and on the other hand, I want to inform the wider world of what is going on in the Church in the Netherlands.

It is sometimes tempting to be too negative about such topics. I don't want to do that: my approach is an inherently positive one, and loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. In many quarters this is an unfamiliar idea: criticism is often the standard approach to the Church, her bishops and priests and other representatives. I will be critical when that is warranted, but it is not my standard approach.

For a personal account about my reasons for becoming and remaining Catholic, go read my story: Why am I Catholic?

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Netherlands License.

The above means that I have the right to be recognised as the author of both the original blog posts, as well as any translations I make. Everyone is free to share my content, but with credit in the form of my name or a link to my blog.

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Over the years, my blog posts have been picked up by various other blogs, websites and media outlets.

A complete list would be prohibitively long, so I'll limit myself to mentioning The Anchoress, Anton de Wit, Bisdom Haarlem-Amsterdam, The Break/SQPN, Caritas in Veritate, Catholic Culture, The Catholic Herald, EWTN, Fr. Ray Blake's Blog, Fr. Z's Blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity, Katholiek Gezin, Katholiek.nl, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, New Liturgical Movement, NOS, Protect the Pope, Reformatorisch Dagblad, The Remnant, RKS Ariëns, Rorate Caeli, The Spectator, Vatican Insider, Voorhof and Whispers in the Loggia.

All links to, quotations of and use as source material of my blog posts is greatly appreciated. It's what I blog for: to further awareness and knowledge in a positive critical spirit. Credits are equally liked, of course.

Blog posts have also been used as sources for various Wikipedia articles, among them those on Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carré, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Archbishop Sergio Utleg and Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki.

Latest translations added:

20 April: [English] Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki - Easter message.

15 April: [English] Bishop Frans Wiertz - Homily on sexual abuse.

4 April: [English] Pope Francis - Interview with Belgian youth.

25 February: [Dutch] Paus Franciscus - Brief aan de Gezinnen.

24 February: [Dutch] Raymond Kardinaal Burke - De radicale oproep van de paus tot de nieuwe evangelisatie.
De focus van Paus Franciscus op liefde en praktische pastorale zorg in de grotere context van de Schrift en de leer van de Kerk.

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Sancta Maria, hortus conclusus, ora pro nobis!

Sancte Ramon de Peñafort, ora pro nobis!

Pope Francis

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of God

Bishop Gerard de Korte

Bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden

Willem Cardinal Eijk

Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto, Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht

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