Daily Meditations

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Sixth Tuesday of Pascha: Thoughts on the Ascension

By Michael Haldas, Quotes of the Day for May 17, 2018

“In raising human nature to heaven by His Ascension, Christ has given us the hope of arriving there ourselves.” (St. Thomas Aquinas)

“Because we have so accepted this dichotomous rupture between body and soul as ‘reality’ we often describe our Faith in terms of “saving souls.” We seldom think of our bodies being eternally involved in salvation as well. However, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity did not become flesh, suffer, die and rise from the dead to “save souls.” Jesus Christ came to save whole ‘persons.” (Father Thomas Loya)

“Of course, there will be trying periods in our life when the path of ascension toward God will seem exceptionally difficult. Then we should think that for every step taken there are a thousand rewards being prepared. Sufferings along this path are momentary, but the rewards are eternal.” (St. Innocent of Alaksa)

“At the incarnation, Christ brought His divine nature to human nature. In the mystery of the Ascension, Christ brings human nature to the divine Kingdom…Christ, who “tempered” His divinity by taking on humanity, that humanity by grace might take on divinity.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 24:51, Ezekiel 1:3-4)

“When the Lord ascended to the heavens, He did not divest Himself of His humanity. He raised “the likeness of Adam, cast into the vaults of Hades, lifting it with [His] Ascension to the heavens and making it equal in rank to Thy Father’s throne” (orthros verse for the Ascension). Christ’s raising of human nature to the right hand of the Father assures us that the way is now open to all who diligently seek the restoration of their humanity. The elevation of our nature gives everyone in every nation on earth the motivation “go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob [that] He [may] proclaim His way to us [so that] we [may] walk in it” (Isaiah 2:3).” (Dynamis 6/5/2019)

“Thus, the Lord completed the arc of…His Divine Plan of Salvation on our behalf…His Ascension is no desertion of His flock…Rather, it is the way that He is present to His Flock no matter how far and wide it may extend, even to the uttermost parts of the earth…by His Ascension, the Lord has, as Saint Paul says, “seated us in heavenly places,” such that through and in His human nature, every human being is potentially already in the Heavenly Realm. He presents His Divine Humanity…And we are already there with Him! His Humanity is our humanity.” (Archbishop Elpidophoros)

“The Ascension makes thoughts of heaven more immediate, more actual to us. Do we think of our permanent home often enough? For most Christians, life in heaven is no more than a supplement—of which they have but a very hazy notion—to life on earth. Life in heaven is seen somewhat as a postscript, an appendix, to a book whose text is formed by earthly life…Jesus does not return to his Father in isolation. It was the incorporeal Logos which came down among men. But today it is the Word made flesh, both true God and true man, who enters the kingdom of heaven. Jesus brings into it the human nature which he had assumed. He opens the door of the kingdom to humanity. As if by proxy, we take possession of the benefits which are offered and made possible to us. ‘[God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’. There are places destined for us in the kingdom, if we are faithful. Our presence is desired and awaited.” (Lev Gillet)

“Christ ascended to be seated at “the right hand of the Father” in glory, thus lifting up the humanity He assumed in the Incarnation into the very inner life of God. For all eternity, Christ is God and man. The deified humanity of the Lord is the sign of our future destiny “in Christ.”…In the same way as He came down, without changing place but condescending to us, so He returns once more, without moving as God, but enthroning on high our human nature which He had assumed.” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff, Saint Gregory Palamas)

~Michael Haldas, https://www.ancientfaith.com/contributors/michael_haldas.

Michael Haldas is an author, a religious educator and a speaker. He wrote Sacramental Living: Understanding Christianity as a Way of Life (published by Eastern Christian Publications), a book which he presented special editions of as gifts to Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in private audiences. Michael is also published monthly in Theosis Magazine and he has authored several Orthodox Christian themed articles for various publications. Additionally, he has recorded and contributed to multiple YouTube, DVD and CD educational projects. He teaches adult religious education and high school Sunday school at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Bethesda, Maryland and has worked with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Religious Education Department to create educational lessons and materials.


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