Advent and the Ascension

Dec 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Blog Posts

As we move ever closer to the celebration of the coming of our Lord on Christmas, it is helpful for us to reflect a bit on what this coming means for you and me, what this means for us! What does the season of Advent have to do with the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven? On the surface, it would appear, not much. Yet, if we dig just a bit, we can see that Advent and the Ascension have a lot more in common than would appear.

It needs to be stated that the doctrine of the Ascension is one of those doctrines that has been neatly tucked away under the”what does this have to do with anything” file, stored away in the filing cabinet. When we encounter the Ascension we usually are left with more questions than answers and the answers we usually get are not very satisfying. So where does the season of Advent fit with the reality of the Ascension? When our Lord descended from heaven in great humility to take on human nature, He did so that in His Ascension He would exalt our human nature and make us, shall we dare say, partakers of the divine nature! Our Lord lowers Himself in becoming Man, stoops down, in order that He might redeem and restore man/woman back to his/her proper place, God’s image bearer, and even more, that we might share in the very life of God.

The Advent of God’s Son is ordered toward the Ascension of the Son of Man! God comes down so that Man might go up! As Douglas Farrow (a convert to the Catholic Church) has pointed out in his book on the Ascension, reflection on the Ascension had led to some allowing our Lord’s humanity to be swallowed up by His deity. We must always be careful to remember that our Lord is fully God and fully Man. As has been pointed out by many theologians, Jesus is both the manifestation of the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of humanity. In Jesus there is God’s “Yes” to man, and man’s “Yes” to God. Thus, in the one person Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Word made flesh, there is manifested both the reign of God and the reign of humanity. In Jesus God exercises his reign as God and in Jesus humanity exercises their reign as the image of God. In Jesus God rules his world and orders all things and brings them to perfection as He always intended from the beginning through His image, humanity (Psalm 8; Heb 2).

Thanks be to God for the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. And thanks be to God for the Advent of our Lord, who in great love and humility, shunned not the Virgin’s womb and became Man for our sake, so that in Him we might be exalted, so that in Him, we might share in the communion of love of the Blessed Trinity. As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in his first Christmas homily, God is being in communion and God invites us to share in that communion.  See, brothers and sisters, the generosity of God!!!!  He gives us not a token of love, He gives us not a symbol of love, NO!  He gives us all He has, His very life! May we say in response to such love the words of the Little Flower (St. Therese), “Oh, how I love thee!” Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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  1. Regarding his descent from heaven in great humility, why is it that Catholics bow in the recitation of the Creed where it says, ” by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man”?

  2. Brian, it is because we humble ourselves at the remembrance of the sacred mystery of the Incarnation.

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