Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Ascension

My road bike has a part that needs to be replaced, so I dusted off my mountain bike to explore the roads near our new home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I love riding out in the country, enjoying the rolling hills and the breathtaking views.  With little traffic to distract me, I can clear my head for meditation on the Rosary mysteries.  Since it's Wednesday, I prayed the Glorious Mysteries.

As I pondered the Second Glorious Mystery, The Ascension, I felt regret that this great feast day has been given so little prominence in these modern times.  Only a handful of Catholic churches celebrate the Ascension on its original date, Ascension Thursday, as most have "moved" the feast to Sunday since Catholics can't be bothered to attend Mass in the middle of the week.

Moving the feast day to Sunday also takes away the focus on the first novena.  After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem and prayed with Mary and several other women in the Upper Room for nine days while awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  (Acts 1:14). 

If your parish celebrates the feast of The Ascension on Sunday, then you can still honor the feast on Ascension Thursday by reading the Bible references for the Ascension: Mark: 16:15-20; Luke 24: 49-53; Acts 1: 6-11 and perhaps praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. 

The Novena to the Holy Spirit begins this Friday, the day after Ascension Thursday.  This is a wonderful way to prepare for the feast of Pentecost.

Isn't the painting above of The Ascension by Salvador Dali interesting?  It was based on a dream he had about the nucleus of an atom, which the artist felt represented the "unifying spirit" of Christ.  The woman at the top of the painting is Dali's wife, Gala.  Although it is not my favorite painting of The Ascension, I think that is thought-provoking and definitely unique.  There is brief commentary at this link.  Click on #19 in the list of paintings.

Related articles:
Did the Apostles Pray the Rosary? at Catholic Exchange
New Advent article on novenas

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