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Prayers & Devotions

The Ascension of the Lord
Feast Day
Thursday after the sixth Sunday of Easter or on the seventh Sunday of Easter

Christ in Glory
Detail from Disputa dei Sacramento - The Triumph of the Christian Faith
Raphael (ca 1508) Stanza della Segnatura, Apostolic Palace, Vatican

Readings - Hymn

The feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter Sunday*, commemorating the Ascension of Christ into Heaven and His completion of the work of our redemption. The liturgy on this day celebrates the entry of Christ into heaven with our human nature glorified, and the pledge of our glorification with Him. In the past, processions outside the church were held on this day to imitate Christ's leading the Apostles out of the city to the Mount of Olives, and to commemorate the entry of Christ into heaven.

* In some dioceses of the United States, this feast is celebrated on the Seventh Sunday of Easter. See local liturgical calendar.

Readings

This high priest of ours is one who has taken His seat in heaven, on the right hand of that throne where God sits in majesty, monistering now in the sanctuary, in that true tabernacle which the Lord, not man, has set up. After all, it is ther very function of a pirest to offer gift and sacrifice.

Hebrews 8:1b:3a
Feast of the Ascension - Prayers for Midday

 

Collect at the Vigil Mass:

O God, whose Son today ascended to the heavens
as the Apostles looked on,
grant, we pray, that, in accordance with his promise,
we may be worthy for him to live with us always on earth,
and we with him in heaven.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Collect:

Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God,
and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,
for the Ascension of Christ your Son
is our exaltation,
and, where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

or

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who believe that your Only Begotten Son, our Redeemer,
ascended this day dwell already in heavenly realms.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading for Mass: Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11 Year A,B,C

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. To them He presented Himself alive after His passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, "you heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So when they had come together, they asked Him, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witness in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." And when He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven."

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23 Year A,B,C

Jesus came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Year B Optional Readings: Eph 4:1-13 or Eph 4:1-7, 11-13
Year C Optional Readings: Heb 9:24-28 - 10:19-23

Year A
Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshipped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Year B
Gospel Reading: Mark 16:15-20

Jesus said to His disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

Year C
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:46-53

Jesus said to His disciples, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high."

Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. While He blessed them, He parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

(Scripture: RSV-CE Ignatius Bible)

Hymn for the Ascension

Hail the day that sees Him rise

Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!
Glorious to His native skies: Alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals giv'n, Alleluia!
Enters now the highest heav'n! Alleluia

There the glorious triumph waits; Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates! Alleluia!
Wide unfold the radiant scene; Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in! Alleluia!

See! He lifts His hands above, Alleluia!
See! He shows the prints of love: Alleluia!
Hark! His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on His Church below. Alleluia!

Lord, beyond our mortal signt, Alleluia!
Raise our hearts to reach Thy height, Alleluia!
There Thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heav'n of heav'ns in Thee. Alleluia!

Text: Charles Wesley (1707-88); Melody: Robert Williams (1781-1821)



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