Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Second Glorious Mystery ~ The Ascension of Jesus



It's important to illustrate this mystery of the Ascension with an Eastern icon because Western depictions, whatever their artistic merits, only do what a camera would have done if cameras had existed 2000 years ago. But the icon tells us much more.

Jesus is taken up and sits in an aureole. He sits, which is the posture of authority and to remind us of the line from the Sunday Creed, "He is seated at the right hand of the Father..." An aureole is a circular or almond shaped radiance of light surrounding a sacred person. The sparks or rays of light which cover the clothing of Jesus are called assiste (ah-seest). Jesus has entered the place of perpetual light, as we say in the prayer. Divinity shines out of him.

As we read in  The Acts of the Apostles (1:9-11) Jesus was taken from their sight and two men (were they angels?) appeared telling the apostles to stop staring off into the sky; that they will see Jesus again. And while Jesus has departed from us physically, the Spirit has been sent, and so the mountains, the ground and even the air or atmosphere of the icon are sparkling and golden. "Earth is crammed with heaven..." Emily Dickinson writes.

The Mother of God stands centrally, as first disciple. Elizabeth said of her: "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord," (Luke 1:45). Mary stands in the position of a priest  at the altar. She is the image of the Church at prayer - in  the posture of gathering, lifting up and receptivity grounded in faith.





Our Father, Who art in heaven...

Jesus goes up! And I remember Saint Paul writing, But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. And that higher, excellent way is the way of love: patient, hopeful, enduring, generous and glad.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

The physical body of Jesus has left us; he has gone to glory. But he has also promised to be with us, until the end of time. What a tremendous claim! The red light burns in my church by the tabernacle, where the presence of Jesus is real, unique and always.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Nick Vujicic, who has no arms or legs from birth says, If you find your joy in temporary things, your joy will be - temporary. But Jesus says, I am with you always, until the end of time.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

I consider the great, hospitable kindness of Jesus, who says, I go to prepare a place for you , so that where I am, you also may be. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. What a joyful promise: room for me!

Hail Mary, full of grace...

I join the apostles as they receive the Lord's departing blessing. This is Jesus giving me strength for the journey through this life, full of tempting solicitations. I must keep my eyes fixed on Jesus only.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Jesus stayed with us for forty days after his resurrection from the dead. Forty days means a long time. Jesus understands the long time of struggle, the long time of fear, the long time of loneliness, the long time of hoping. But there is also the long time of his friendship.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

I hear the words of Jesus, I go to the Father...I will be with you until the end. This is the greatest gift a friend can give - I will be with you. I thank Jesus through tears of gratitude.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

I climb Mount Olivet too, to meet God, to go with God - up to the higher things of forgiveness, new direction, restored hope, reconciliation and joy.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

The apostles look long to the sky. Angels appear to tell them that Jesus will return. Until then, I am not to look, gazing at the clouds, but to people left and right, in friendship and love.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Jesus was taken from the sight of the apostles, but only from their ocular sight. Faith and love have their own way of seeing. Jesus, help me to see rightly, how to trust, how to love.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Glory be to the Father...



Our Lady's Pincushion


1 comment:

  1. I am learning so much from reading these entries. The icons are so richly beautiful and full of meaning, that at times I find myself overwhelmed. I find myself going back on occasion to look at them again.

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