Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ascension Sunday

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:“Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
Today's reading never ceases to amaze me. When I hear Jesus saying: "Father, they are your gift to me...I wish them to be where I am." This prayer of Jesus is not only for the Christian community, not only for the disciples but for all those who will believe in Him through the ages. This prayer is for us in the same way that the Incarnation was a gift from God to us. Jesus sees us as His gift and yet He is God's gift to us. He became clay for us so that we may become wheat like Him.
I think of the poor disciples, standing there in sadness, missing their Lord, heartbroken and yet, filled with awe for the great things that God allowed them to be a part of. Jesus now calls them friends. Jesus now prays for them and for us and wants us to go where he is going.
Thinking of the Ascension reminds me of St. John of the Cross in his Dark Night:
"¡O noche, que guiaste! ¡O noche amable más que la alborada! ¡oh noche que juntaste amado con amada, amada en el amado transformada! "
( "O blessed night! O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the lover with His beloved, Transforming the beloved in her Lover.")
I believe that this sadness allows precisely the transformation that Jesus and the Father wish for us. Unity is the theme of this prayer, that we may be brought to perfection, that we may become more like Jesus.
In another poem, St. John of the Cross writes:
—Nada me contenta, Hijo, fuera de tu compañía. Y si algo me contenta en ti mismo lo quería el que a ti más se parece a mi más satisfazía. Y el quen nada te semeja en mí nada hallaría en ti solo me e agradado ¡o vida de vida mía!. Eres lumbre de mi lumbre eres mi sabiduría figura de mi substancia en quien bien me complazía. Al que a ti te amare Hijo a mí mismo le daría y el amor que yo te tengo ésse mismo en él pondría en razón de aver amado a quien yo tanto quería.
(-"My Son, only your company contents me, and when something pleases me I love that thing in you; whoever resembles you most satisfies me most, and whoever does not resemble You will find nothing in me. I am pleased with you alone, O life of my life! You are the light of my light, you are my wisdom, the image of my substancein whom I am well pleased. My Son, I will give myself to him who loves you and I will love him with the same love I have for you, because he has loved you whom I love so." )
And so, I think of the Ascension as an opportunity to reasses who I am, and whom I want to resemble. I know I fall short of Jesus' ideal of unity, but I keep on trying, and Jesus keeps on praying for me, for us. This day, let us pray for each other that we may be one. The Incarnation of Christ has already opened the way and His Ascension has confirmed that we can go to where Jesus is.

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