“ARISE, O LORD, INTO THY RESTING PLACE.”
In the Ascension of our Blessed Lord we contemplate how, forty days after His Resurrection, He ascended into Heaven in triumph, surrounded by great glory, in the sight of His holy Mother and His disciples. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, 0 eternal gates; and the King of glory shall enter in-(Ps. xxiii. 7). O Paradise! O Paradise! When, O Lord, shall I see Thee face to face, and embrace Thee, without fear of ever losing Thee?
The rightful home of the risen Saviour was Heaven, the home of the Blessed, but Jesus wished to remain still on earth for forty days, appearing again and again to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven, in order to strengthen their Faith in His Resurrection and to give them consolation and hope. Meanwhile the Angels ardently desired to have their King in their heavenly country, and hence they were continually supplicating Him in the words of David: Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place-(Ps. cxxxi. 8). Come, O Lord, come quickly, now that Thou hast redeemed men: come to Thy kingdom and dwell with us.
Behold now the solemn hour has arrived and our Blessed Saviour ascends Mount Olivet with His Apostles and disciples to about the number of one hundred and twenty. Then, raising His hands to Heaven, Jesus blesses them and ascends into the skies in triumph, surrounded by great glory. When a monarch makes his solemn entry into his kingdom, he does not pass through the gates of his capital city, for they are removed to make way for him on the occasion. Hence, when Jesus Christ now enters Paradise, the Angels cry out: Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in-(Ps. xxiii. 7).
O Paradise! O Paradise! When, O Lord, shall I see Thee face to face, and embrace Thee, without fear of ever losing Thee?
Before Jesus Christ died for us, Paradise was closed; but today Thou dost mount the skies, 0 Lord, leading a glorious number of captives, all the multitude of blessed souls who have come forth from Limbo, and ascend to Heaven with Thee. Thou hast ascended on high; thou hast led captivity captive-(Ps. lxvii. 19), By His death and glorious ascension to-day into Heaven our Saviour has opened Paradise for all who love Him.
Ah, how lamentable, that after all Jesus has suffered to win the Kingdom of Heaven for men, so many foolish sinners should renounce it for worthless pleasures, for a mere nothing, and exchange the bliss of Heaven for the torments of hell!
Through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Mediator, we have received in Baptism grace to become the sons of God, and if sons, heirs also, heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: but St. Paul adds: yet so if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him (Rom. viii. 17). The Apostle then exhorts us all to suffer with courage, strengthened by the hope of Paradise: For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come which shall be revealed in us-(Rom. viii. 18). No beggar is so foolish as not gladly to exchange his rags for a great kingdom.
O my Jesus, when I look upon my sins I am ashamed to seek for Paradise, but when I look on Thee upon the Cross I cannot cease to hope for Heaven, knowing, as I do, that Thou didst die to atone for my sins and obtain Paradise for me. Ah, my Jesus, when will the day arrive that shall free me from all danger of losing Thee? O Mary, Queen of Heaven, thy intercession is all-powerful with God. In thee I put my trust.