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  • Sarah Raad

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If only we valued our place in Creation – what wonders we could do!

Ascension of Christ (Giacomo Cavedone)

Last night, I attended Mass with a couple of my sisters. We did not plan to go together, but somehow, after the events of our day, we ended up at the same Church at the same time and celebrated Mass together. One of my sisters has two children who are a few years younger than my youngest child. I watched them sitting (very beautifully I might add) during Mass and I watched my youngest child interacting with them during Mass.


My daughter, who is almost 8 years old, is a very bossy and mothering child – the apple clearly does not fall far from the tree! And I watched as she directed her younger cousins to stop their fidgeting – which was very very minimal anyway – and concentrate on the Consecration. I watched as the younger two copied her. It was beautiful…


You see, my youngest two children have just started to prepare for their First Holy Communion, and yesterday morning we had covered a few lessons where I explained how important and SACRED the Consecration really is! My daughter was obviously paying attention, and yesterday, during Mass, in her innocent little girl way, she was trying to help her cousins to understand too.


Now, I am not blind to the obvious problems with this approach. If nothing else my daughter was quite distracted herself – seeking the splinters in her neighbour’s eyes, before removing the beam from her own. But, as this behaviour was coupled with the Feast of the Ascension, the actions of these children seemed a beautiful reminder of our PLACE in the world.


Because today – on the Feast of the Ascension – when we remember Christ rising into Heaven, we celebrate our PLACE in Creation!

Yesterday, in listening to the beautiful homily about the Feast of the Ascension, these actions of these children seemed to make some sense to me, and the Holy Spirit called to me – and the music in my mind consumed my soul...

You see, the Feast of the Ascension marks the end of Christ’s Earthly mission. Never again on Earth would the disciples – or us – see, hear, touch or smell God the Son in the same way. Never again would we eat with Him, laugh with Him, talk to Him, question Him, and receive His wisdom and answers directly into our human ears from His most blessed physical mouth. Never again would we greet Him with a kiss on His cheek. Never again would we have the opportunity to hug Him and hold Him close in our physical arms. Now, Christ is no longer with us in BODY on this Earth – though how lucky we are that He left us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.


The Feast of the Ascension marks the success of Christ’s mission on Earth. In dying on the Cross, when “He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.” (John 19:30) Christ FINISHED His mission. He won back souls…


And here – when the disciples saw Him ascend in a cloud – the DIVINITY of Christ was revealed. Christ was revealed as God the Son – the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity… And this is the Truth we proclaim in the Creed… For He is “seated at the Right Hand of the Father”.


For through the Ascension we realise that Christ is preparing a place for us… We are HIS! And as His… we are called to Proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven – which we remember in the third luminous mystery of the Rosary.


“After Jesus had spoken these words, He looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on earth by finishing the work that You gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had in Your presence before the world existed.


“I have made Your name known to those whom You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words that You gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom You gave Me, because they are Yours. All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one, as We are one.” (John, 17:1-11).

And, this is why those children were so important to me during that Mass last night, because they helped me to realise that the Feast of the Ascension marks the closing of a cycle.

Before the fall of humanity – before the fall of Adam and Eve – God put humanity in charge of all creation… “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Genesis, 1:26-28).


But after the fall of humanity, we forgot our place. We forgot who we are. We were shattered – the Tower of Babel is a sign of this as we could no longer speak with one-another…


But how lucky we are! For the final words of the Gospel of Mark remind us…


“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:20).


Because it is our PLACE to bring all of creation to God. And that starts at HOME…


And so, I think, after watching those children in Mass last night, that it is no mystery why “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:14).


Because it is the little children, who really know their PLACE in creation, and the little children who value it there…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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