Why Stand Looking Into Heaven?

The Second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary is the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven. Perhaps because Jesus is taken away from our sight it is hard to grasp the full significance of this event. He ascends—serenely, majestically—and then disappears into a mysterious place called “heaven,” a land we have not yet been permitted to travel to. We have no pictures of it. There is no website connecting us to is such as “www.heaven.com.” It is a place beyond our touch and sight and hearing. Yet by faith we believe in it, and hope to one day go there, and rejoice that Jesus is now fully glorified as King of the universe, forevermore seated at the right hand of the Father.

But what does Jesus do there, at the right hand of the Father? Does sitting imply inactivity? Is his work finished? No, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, “Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit” (#667). Although we can no longer see Jesus, he remains very near to us, loving us, ever interceding for us with his Father, and bestowing gifts of grace upon us, exercising a power which continually vivifies the Church.

How can we apply this mystery to our life? We may no longer see Jesus with our physical eyes, but we can spiritually keep our eyes fixed on him, through a life of faith, through detachment from the things of this world, and through a yearning for heaven. As Saint Augustine, in the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Ascension puts it: Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us, and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.