the incarnation and the church
"No sooner had He said this than He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight." —Acts 1:9
Jesus' Ascension seemed to have ended our time to benefit from His Incarnation. We could no longer see God face to face, hear Him, and touch Him. However, Jesus had promised that He would not leave us orphaned (Jn 14:18). He would be with us always (Mt 28:20), and it is better for us that He go (Jn 16:7).
Jesus knew that His apostles would not understand His Ascension, so He told them to remain in Jerusalem. Within a few days, they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). They obeyed the Lord after His Ascension and "returned to Jerusalem filled with joy. There they were to be found in the temple constantly, speaking the praises of God" (Lk 24:52-53). "Together they devoted themselves to constant prayer" (Acts 1:14).
After nine days of prayer, 120 of Jesus' disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15; 2:4). They baptized 3,000 people that day (Acts 2:41), and the Church was born. This newborn Church eventually came to be recognized as the body of Christ, the continuation and development of Jesus' Incarnation (e.g. 1 Cor 12:12; Eph 1:23).
Pray for nine days (a novena) for the Holy Spirit to come and guide you to all truth (Jn 16:13), especially the truth about His Incarnation and the Church.
Prayer: Father, I accept Your grace to pray for nine days. Come, Holy Spirit!
Promise: "He has put all things under Christ's feet and has made Him, thus exalted, Head of the Church, which is His body: the fullness of Him Who fills the universe in all its parts." —Eph 1:22-23
Praise: Alleluia! Jesus is risen, ascended, and glorified! Praise God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 2, 2014
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