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The Ascension

 

Sixth Article of the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

On Mount Olivet, a hill outside Jerusalem, forty days after His Resurrection, Our Lord spoke to the disciples, telling them how the Holy Ghost would descend upon them. “And when He had said this, he was lifted up before their eyes, and a cloud took him out of their sight, And while they were gazing up to heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white garments, and said to them, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to heaven? This Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the some way as you have seen him going up to heaven’ ” (Acts 1:9-11).

    Why did Christ rise from the dead? –Christ rose from the dead to show that He is true God, and to teach us that we, too, shall rise from the dead.

     

  1. The Resurrection is the most important of Christ’s miracles. He Himself chose it as the most conclusive proof of His divine mission; the Apostles appealed to it to confirm their teachings. The fact of the Resurrection, by itself alone, proves Christ God.

    Christ said repeatedly that He is the Son of God; He said He would rise again from the grave. He did rise, unaided, by His own almighty power; therefore He is as He said, the Son of God. If He were an impostor, God would not have permitted Him to rise again. “But take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

     

  2. Christ bore on His body the marks of the five wounds. The qualities of His risen body were:

       

    1. Agility. It could go with the quickness of thought to all places.

       

    2. Subtility or spirituality. It was free from hunger, thirst, fatigue, and other needs. It could penetrate material substances.

       

    3. Clarity or brightness. It shone with splendor.

       

    4. Impassibility. It was immune to pain, disease, and death.

     

  3. We are fortunate in having today for veneration a number of relics of the Passion.

    The tablet with the inscription “I.N.R.I.” is in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Rome. One nail is said to have been thrown by St. Helena into the Adriatic to calm a storm; another is in the iron crown of the Lombards. Veronica’s towel is in Rome. Part of the pillar of the scourging is at Rome, part in Jerusalem. The winding sheets are in Turin, and in Cadonin, France. Of the crown of thorns, part is in Paris, part in Toulouse. All these remind us of the time when “they entreated Him to let them touch but the tassel of His cloak” (Matt. 14:36).

    Will all men rise from the dead? –All men will rise from the dead, but only those who have been faithful to Christ will share in His glory.

     

  1. Like Christ, we, too, shall rise from the dead on the Last Day, and our bodies will be reunited with our souls.

    “He who raised up Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:14). “As Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

     

  2. Those who have been faithful to Christ will be rewarded with the glory of heaven; those that have been unfaithful will be punished in the depths of hell.

    “If you have risen with Christ, Seek the things that are above, … not the things that are on earth.” The rewards are given only to the faithful.

    When did Christ ascend into heaven? –Christ ascended, body and soul, into heaven on Ascension day, forty days after His Resurrection.

     

  1. The Ascension took place from the Mount of Olives. Christ’s Apostles and disciples were present. It was full daylight.

    He gave His followers His last instructions. Then He raised His hands and blessed them. He told them to preach the Gospel to all nations, and promised to be with them to the end of the world.

     

  2. While all looked on, He was raised up, by His own power, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

    “Now he led them out towards Bethany, and… was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).

     

  3. The disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Their Master had returned to heaven in glory, and His arrival there had opened to His followers the heavenly gates.

    He had earned for men infinite grace, so that they were now able to attain the friendship of God Himself. Christ the King had gone home to prepare a place for men in heaven (John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:7). We celebrate the feast of the Ascension forty days after Easter, on Ascension Thursday.

    What do we mean when we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty? –When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father, and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a King over all creatures.

     

  1. Christ as God is equal to the Father in all things. But even as man Christ is only next to God. Of Himself, Christ has dominion over all creation, his authority resting on the union of His divine and human natures in the Person of the Son of God.

    He is above all the angels and saints. To Sit at the right hand of anybody is a mark of honor from that person. “Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool” (Ps. 109:1,2).

     

  2. Christ ascended into heaven in order:

       

    1. To enter into the glory He had merited.

       

    2. To send down the Holy Ghost on His Church.

       

    3. To be our intercessor with the Father.

       

    4. To prepare a place for us in heaven.

    What do we mean when we say that Christ will come from thence to judge the living and the dead? –When we say that Christ will come from thence to judge the living and the dead, we mean that on the last day Our Lord will come to pronounce a sentence of eternal reward or of eternal punishment on every one who has ever lived in this world.

     

  1. Jesus Christ will be our Supreme Judge because He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Apoc. 17:14).

    “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father and then he will render to everyone according to his conduct” (Matt. 16:27).

     

  2. Christ’s teaching has changed the face of the earth. One poor young man, teaching for three years in the hills and valleys of Galilee, and dying a shameful death, has brought light, love, peace, and hope into men’s lives, even the lowliest.

    Before Christ the world was the abode of sin and vice, idolatry, polygamy, divorce, and slavery. However, the world today, although reformed by Christianity, is far from perfect. This is because many refuse to obey the teachings of Christ. It is our duty to make Christ better known and loved, so that all may “seek first the kingdom of God.”

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

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​The Promise of the Redeemer

Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

Immediately after the Fall, God promised a Redeemer to Adam. He forgave man, although He had not forgiven the rebel angels. He was more merciful to man than to the angels. In making the promise, God spoke of the Blessed Virgin, who was to be the Saviour’s Mother.

      Did God abandon man after Adam fell into sin? –God did not abandon man after Adam fell into sin, but promised to send into the world a Saviour to free man from his sins and to reopen to him the gates of heaven.God could have abandoned man as a consequence of Adam’s sin; then the human race would have suffered eternal separation from Him. 

    1. The promise was first made to Adam before God sent him out of Paradise. God said to the serpent who had tempted Eve: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head” (Gen. 3:15)In this passage, the woman spoken of is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her seed is Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the Redeemer promised by God. God said that there would be complete enmity between Our Lord with His Mother on one side, and the devil with his followers on the other. 
    2. This promise was renewed several times to the Patriarchs of the Old Testament: to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Because Abraham remained true to the worship of God in the midst of idolatry, God led him to Canaan. As a reward for his obedience, God promised, “I will make of thee a great nation … and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:2,3). This promise was repeated twice.The same promise “in thy seed shall all the nations be blessed” was repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob. Finally, hundreds of years later, God commanded the prophet Nathan to repeat to King David the very same promise, “He shall build a house to My name, and I will establish his kingdom forever” (2 Kings 7:13) 
    3. Later, God sent the Prophets. Through them He foretold many things about the Redeemer: about His birth, His Person, His sufferings. His death, and His final glory.God enlightened the Prophets so that they could speak in His name to the Jews or Israelites’ the descendants of Abraham. There were about seventy prophets, the last being Malachias, who lived some 450 years before Christ. 
    4. God chose the Jews as the people among whom the promised Saviour would live; for this reason we call the Jews the “chosen people”. God prepared them for the coming of the Saviour: by heavy trials, by severe laws, by miracles, by prophecies.The selection of the Jews did not mean rejection by God of the other nations. Every renewal of God’s promise recalled blessings in which all were to share. Even among other nations there were just men, In Greece, Socrates spoke against the worship of idols. Holy Job lived in Arabia. The Magi were of the East. Vergil the poet prayed the virgin-born Son to come and reign over His people.
      Why did God wait thousands of years before sending the Redeemer? –God wished men to realize the enormity of sin. 

    1. God wished men to see how low they could sink without His help. He wanted the world to prepare for the Redeemer.Men became so wicked that God destroyed all in the Deluge, except Noe and his family. God permitted men to sink into the deepest misery, so that they might be roused to a longing for the promised Saviour. When the Saviour at last came, all nations were sunk in idolatry and wickedness except the Jews. Even among the Jews there was continuous dissension and sin. 
    2. From the time of Adam the true religion was preserved till the advent of the promised Saviour by the patriarchs, prophets and other holy men inspired by God to teach and lead his Chosen People.In spite of the imperfection of the old religion, there was always only onetrue religion. It was but a shadow of the perfection that was to come, but was the true religion before Christ: the Jewish Faith.
      Who is the Saviour of all men? –The Saviour of all men is Jesus Christ.Men would know the Saviour by certain signs which God revealed through the Prophets. 

    1. Of His advent the Prophets spoke:
         

      1. The Messias was to be born in Bethlehem, when the Jews were no longer free.“And Thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity” (Mich. 5:2). “The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations” (Gen. 49:10) 
      2. The Messias was to be born of a virgin of the House of David.“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is. 7:14) 
      3. The Messias would be preceded by a precursor who would preach in the desert.“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert the paths of our God” (Is 40:3). 
      4. A new star was to announce the birth of the Messias; He would be adored by kings from distant lands bringing Him gifts.“A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a scepter shall spring up from Israel” (Numb. 24:17). “The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts” (Ps. 71:10) 
      5. Many children would be put to death at the time of His birth.“A voice was heard on high of lamentation, or mourning, and weeping, of Rachel (representing the Jews) weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not” (Jer. 31:15).

       

    2. Of the person of the Messias the Prophets spoke: He was to be the Son of God. He would work great miracles, and teach the people. He would he King of a new kingdom, which was not to be destroyed, and was to include all nations.“The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee” (Ps. 2:7). “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free” (Is. 35:5-6). “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed … and it shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). 
    3. Of His sufferings the Prophets spoke:He was to enter Jerusalem riding on an ass. He would be betrayed by one who ate at the same table with Him. He would he abandoned, mocked, beaten, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and given gall and vinegar to drink. Lots would be cast for His garments. His hands and feet would be pierced with nails. He would die between two evildoers. 
    4. All the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Redeemer, the Saviour that God in His mercy had promised.The angels announced Him as the Redeemer to the shepherds when He was born, and to St. Joseph in a vision. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son” (John 3:16)

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!