Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Thursday

Today the fortieth day after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the Ascension of Christ into Heaven (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:2).

In the Eastern Church this feast was known as analepsis, the taking up, and also as the episozomene, the Salvation, showing us that by ascending into His glory Christ completed the work of our redemption. The terms used in the West, ascensio and ascensa, tell us that Christ was raised up by His own powers. Tradition says that Mount Olivet near Bethany as the place where Christ left the earth. The feast falls on Thursday. It is one of the Ecumenical feasts ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter and of Pentecost among the most solemn in the Church calendar.

Christ's bodily Ascension foreshadows our own entrance into Heaven not simply as souls, after our death, but as glorified bodies, after the resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgment. In redeeming mankind, Christ not only offered salvation to our souls but began the restoration of the material world itself to the glory that God intended before Adam's fall.

The Feast of the Ascension marks the beginning of the first novena, or nine days of prayer. Before His Ascension, Christ promised to send the Holy Spirt to His apostles. Their prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which began on Ascension Thursday, ended with the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, ten days later.

(Information from the Catholic Encyclopedia and

Happy Ascension Thursday!


  1. Thank you for a nice informative post. It kind of fits in with mine today.

    blessings always,


  2. Eileen,This is one of my favorite services at our church. Before service begins, we all go outside with helium filled balloons, pastor says a small devotion and prayer as we let our balloons go up into the sky as a symbol of the ascention. We watch in silence until they are out of sight then return inside for our service. It's very nice. Hoping I can make it tonight,I've not missed it once! Thank You for remembering this special day.

  3. Diana, that sounds beautiful, I hope you get to enjoy it tonight, and I hope you're feeling better. I'm on my way over to you now to see how you're doing!

  4. Hi Eileen, I really enjoyed your informative blog this morning. I am not catholic, but certainly believe all of this...about the acending of Jesus and His promise to send the Holy Spirit! Thankyou for this information today.

  5. Hi Eileen, It's very nice to meet you. I have enjoyed reading your beautiful and informative post. You have a lovely blog here.
    Happy Ascension Thursday ♥