Saturday, May 19, 2012
Ascension of the Lord. "Wait for 'the promise of the Father': being is more important than doing
Being is more important than doing. Our happiness now and eternally depends upon discovering this truth and finding ways to live it.
So often today the most sacred things are reduced to a calculus of mere functionality. Show me what you can do, tell me your purpose, the world often seems to say, and I will show you your value.
Marriage, for example, and the relationship uniquely possible for man and woman according to God's plan which holy matrimony enshrines within the grace of the sacrament of the same name, is so often described only in terms of the marital act, and that often in disparaging or degrading ways which removes it from the full context of the life which man and woman share in marriage, and in which they express their love for each other is so many ways, many of them spiritual, that we cannot enumerate them all so rich are the possibilities within freedom God grants to every human person.
God, however, simply looks at us, the work of His hands, and sees His own image and likeness. For Him that is enough to prove our value. For God we are infinitely important because He made us to live forever with Him.
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Ascension when Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father. What new thing does this mystery of our faith reveal to us? Our Holy Father Benedict XVI tells us that now, in Christ, "our humanity has an eternal place in God". Wonderfully, Jesus shows us the way to eternal happiness; where He has gone we hope to follow; He lives as our hope because we see Him where we one day all hope to be.
In God there is never any struggle between being and doing. God is love: in Him being and doing are always in perfect harmony and balance for He IS love and He LOVES eternally and perfectly. Christ is God and in being at the right hand of the Father He continues at the same time to perfectly work on our behalf as Savior, interceding for us.
In this holy Mass of Ascension He through grace incorporates us into His perfect work of sancitfying and redeeming. The word "Body" and the word "incorporate" both come from the Latin "corpus", for "body". Our bodies, through which we exist together with our souls, are brought more deeply into His saving divine love as we consume the Flesh of His Body in the holy Eucharist. Through the grace of this sacrament He brings unity to who we are and what we do: we love and are love in Him. In this way we look with confidence to our eternal reward, toegther with Him in the kingdom of heaven.
In eternal life, God will be all in all. He who is perfect Love and who loves perfectly will seat us at His table and proceed to wait in us when the time of the Church and the Eucharistic banquet we now enjoy are no more. On that great and eternal day our happiness, ur joy will be complete for we will both love and be loved, who we are and what we do, will find eternal and perfect unity in God forever.
The Church is now engaged in nine days of prayer which conclude at Pentecost when we celebrate and receive again the gift of the One who affirms our bring in God: His Holy Spirit of love. It is precisely the grace of prayer, fervent, regular and sincere, that opens for us the vista of faith which teaches who we are in Christ and thus what we do, which is love, now and forever.
Praised be Jesus Christ, ascended to the right hand of the Father, forever and ever. Amen.