Song du Jour

Song du Jour

Benedictine Thoughts, Teachings, and Prayers

“The Ascension Leads Us to the Holy Spirit”

May 6, 2013

The rituals of the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday have passed on the calendar but not on the Church calendar. We are still in the Easter Season rejoicing in the ALLELUIAS!


As we continue this week, we finally come to the Ascension of our Lord. I remember years ago when I was following the daily progression leading to the Ascension, I felt very sad for the Apostles. When Jesus resurrected, the Apostles thought that they would never see Jesus again on earth but only in eternal life. When he came back to show them that he was still present to them, they didn’t want him to go. Yes, there was so much work to be done in the towns and villages; the message of the Good News was to be spread to all who would be willing to listen and be baptized in the Spirit. Jesus appeared to them three times and then it was time to say goodbye…Jesus was to ascend to his Father in heaven. I can only imagine the dialogue of Peter, Matthew, James and John…Why can’t you stay with us? Where will you be going? When will we see you again? How will we know what to do?


Jesus assures them that they already know what to do as he prepared them in the “School of the Lord’s Service.” (Taken from St. Benedict). The Apostles were selected to serve and not be served, to wash the feet of all they meet, cure the sick, console the brokenhearted, baptize all with the water of life, teach humankind the Word of God by Word and deed, and to feed and experience the Bread of Life. It was a huge order to fill but this is why they were commissioned as Jesus’ disciples. According to Gregory Collins, “this apostolic commissioning occurs which is very painful for Peter.” ‘Jesus discreetly reminds Peter of his previous failure.’ ‘This reminds us that the risen Christ arrives unrecognized in the midst of our lives with all of their preoccupations, anxieties and cares, but that he is especially present when we are oppressed by the sense of our own unworthiness and failure.’ “With infinite tenderness Jesus draws Peter out of his guilty self-obsession, making him focus not on what Peter imagines he wants or needs and not allowing him to sink back into the oblivion of immersion in the mere business of daily existence (JN 2Q1:3). He asks him instead to confront the harsh reality of his past failures. Jesus reveals the real vulnerability in this story. A short time before, as recorded in the same gospel, we find him offering to show his wounds to doubting Thomas so as to elicit faith from the skeptical apostle. The body of Jesus was traumatized, made vulnerable by his passion. But in these post-resurrection showings, he uncovers the deepest wound of all…that of his soul. It was wounded by the denials, rejections and betrayals inflicted on him by Peter and the others (with the exception of the ‘Beloved disciple,’ his mother, and the other women.”(Taken from Meeting Christ in His Mysteries: A Benedictine Vision of the Spiritual Life by Gregory Collins, OSB)


Jesus will always be human to us. Collins states that the possibility of transformation Jesus brings when he appears is like his entire life, deeply incarnate. Jesus has given us this gift of “light that breaks in and suffuses our daily life, a gentle light of love that comes to meet us in our most vulnerable situations. It invites us to move beyond ourselves and our wounds, however painful…and to love.” Collins uses the term: dis-closure-zone which encompasses our humanness…our trials, our failures, our falls, our brokenness, our guilt, and our trauma. But with the light of his resurrection, his Ascension, and the coming of Pentecost, Jesus has completed his self-emptying. As St. Ignatius would say, “…it has been satisfied.” The entire journey of Jesus from birth through his ascension into heaven gives us the path for our journey to eternal life. In our daily lives, it is important to focus on all that the Father in heaven gave us on earth through Jesus his Son.


But now it is time to say goodbye to the Resurrected Christ and know that his Ascension to the Father was part of the awesome plan. I cannot imagine the emotion of these special men. But God gave them the grace to accept the Father’s plan just as he gives us the grace to carry on in our faith.


On a personal note: I am going to bid farewell for now as I embark on my own new

                               adventure to explore myself in mind, body, and spirit. The

                               Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely, MD have granted me a sabbatical

                               to learn, heal, and discern my vocation as a Benedictine Sister.

                               Thank you for this opportunity to share my spiritual authors and

                               thoughts with you this past year.


“That in God all things may be glorified’

Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB

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