EASTER is PASCHA always - GLORY DAYS
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(Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11)
On this day, the risen Christ, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven.
When Jesus ascended, both body and spirit to go back to heaven and sit at the right hand of His Father, this paved and showed the way on how it would and could have been for all of us before the fall and "banishment" of Adam and Eve from paradise - it marked the full restoration of both our body and spirit into the full glory of God, worthy of His presence in paradise. For example, a priori to this but due to God's doing, there were Moses and Elijah who were believed to also have been taken in full body and soul to heaven. Remember how both "bodies" appeared to Jesus during the Transfiguration, to relay the message of "warning" to the Son of God that His death was near. Given these beings to send the assurance to the Son of God that "everything would be all right", just as they were sent back to heaven in no time, so too would Jesus ascend and be glorified in heaven. There was also the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus who assumpted to heaven both body and soul (celebrated on August 15). The whole early Church celebrated her "dormition" (falling asleep) and there were several witnesses who attested that her body was gone from where she was entombed.
There is, of course, a difference between "ascended to heaven" versus "assumpted or being taken to heaven".
Jesus ascended (through His own will and power) while Elijah, Moses, Mary (and possibly many more saints after them) assumpted to heaven (not on their own but by the will and power of God).
This feast occurs 40-50 days after the Resurrection of Christ and 9 days before the descend of the Holy Spirit upon the Church - Jesus promised He would send "The Advocate", the Holy Spirit to the Church during His ministry and that "The Comforter" will be sent after Jesus left.
(Acts 20:16, Cor 16:8)
This occurred on the 50th day after Easter and on the 10th day after Jesus' Ascension to heaven.
After Jesus went back to heaven, all the Apostles, Mary and other disciples and followers stayed indoors because they were very afraid for their lives. None of them dared go out and minister to others about Jesus in fear of being killed. One day, while most of them were praying in the "Upper Room", a mighty wind entered the room and most of them, such that several people "spoke in tongues". This was when the Apostles and disciples gained the strength which got rid of all their fears, that they went out into the world to "evangelize" about Jesus Christ - teaching many nations and people about Him and baptizing them into the Church.
When their spirits where strengthened by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon their bodies, it was like being "(re)-born" - just like when a baby came out of his/her mother's womb, and cry out, as if announcing - "I've arrived, I'm here" - just like the "tongues of fire" that stroke the disciples - all of them "went out" and lived life like being "re-born" into the world, as a new person - with more strength at that. They were all granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles started preaching the Gospel out in the world, in all of the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke, and about 3,000 people were converted and baptized that day.
That is why, the Solemn Day of Pentecost is basically the "BIRTHDAY" of our Church.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
A Prayer of St. Alphonsus Ligouri This prayer was written by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), a bishop and doctor of the Church and founder of the Redemptorist order. In it, we ask the Holy Spirit to grant us His seven gifts.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favors, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next. Amen.
The Word of God conveys the Persons of God, at several points that we can very well see the "big picture" that there are:
Jesus emphasized these when He taught the Apostles the prayer to baptize people:
"I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
With the same Truth and Revelation from Jesus, the Church followed through with this simple prayer by our utterance of it whenever we "cross" ourselves or whenever we make the Sign of the Cross.
So next time you dip your finger into the holy water or genuflect towards the Most Blessed sacrament and make the Sign of the Cross, utter this prayer with pure reverence and faith because we are basically "summoning" or calling all of God upon us (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) - it is basically "renewing" our baptismal prayer that was used to baptized us.
Since this is "all of God" (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), it is only appropriate to make a big deal about it, with a Solemn Feast Day and celebration, all about the Triune God, the 3 Persons in 1 God, the Holy Trinity.
Besides the Sign of the Cross prayer, we also have the Doxology prayer, or the "Glory Be", to give praise and glorify the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
The Sign of the Cross
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
Although we have Good Friday, which is when Christ died (to save us from bondage of sin and death) we celebrate and glorify the "Body of Christ" on a separate day and celebration on Corpus Christi as the "after-effect", result and manifestation of the great results of His death - the Most Blessed Sacrament becomes present before us in Holy Communion.
This solemnity emphasizes the reality of Christ's death which "supplied" for us the "eternal ration" of His flesh and blood in the Eucharist. His Body and Blood becomes "available" for our "consumption".
Why need a regular lamb (as in the Old Testament) when we've got the Lamb of God, Jesus, to provide for the sanctification of both our body and spirit forever and ever?
We are not talking about mere "words spoken" or symbolisms here, or the Word of God written on pages of the Book to serve as "inspiration" to strengthen us.
This is about Real, Physical, Presence of "matter" (Jesus' flesh and blood) that are in the form of bread and wine, which physically enter our body. Not just "symbols" to imagine but actual physical matters to see, touch, smell and take in.
Yet don't be fooled by their form - bread and wine. These are the "Real Deal" - after consecration - they are indeed Body and Blood of Jesus. Although you see bread, it has ceased to be bread so it can no longer be called bread; thus, it is then called, "The Body of Christ". Likewise, although you see wine, it has ceased to be wine and can no longer be called wine; thus, it is called, "The Blood of Christ". To which we respond with a resounding, "AMEN!"
Remember John 6 - we need to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to receive eternal life. Thus, continued reception of Holy Communion (note: make sure we are in a "state of grace" or without sin), will have us set for eternal life.
For example, many saints who did not eat nor drink anything else but the Eucharist all the days of their life, their bodies have been restore in full state of grace that have not decayed at all. Not only is our spirit set for eternal life, but our bodies could be "preserved" too - just like prior to Adam and Eve's fall when sin, pain, death and decay, all started - our bodies could be restored and become prepared to be "assumpted" and be worthy of presence with God in heaven.
Now in order to prepare our body to receive the Eucharist, we should be in a state of grace (confessed and absolved of all sins) and we should fast for at least an hour prior to Holy Communion.