“As He blessed them He parted from them and was taken up to Heaven.” Today we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord The mystery of the Ascension encourages us to hope with Mary as we live our faith in the modern culture, a culture of despair and great temptations.
It was back in 1980 when Pope John Paul II did not hesitate to speak of a “meta-temptation” to denote a temptation which “goes beyond everything in the course of history. Modern man is slowly undergoing a great temptation to deny God and worship man. This is the climate in which the Church is currently living. The Church is undergoing temptations that are greater than ever. Satan the angel of darkness, “disguises himself as an angel of light” in order to seduce us, to lead us astray from the true path.
Mother’s and Fathers are undergoing great temptations in these modern times. As we focus on the Mother’s this weekend, we see that the modern world is tempting them in many ways. The devil always tempts Mother’s to lose their identity – to give up. As soon as a Mother chooses to be a friend to her children, she weakens her Motherhood. She looses her motherly authority.
Mother’s like Fathers are greatly tempted with discouragement, particularly for those who live their Catholic faith. Mother’s can be discouraged when they defend life or a large family. It can also be disheartening for a Mother to see her children being pulled into the world rather than living their Catholic faith. Therefore, Mother’s must form themselves to Mary in order to be true Mothers.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is Mother of hope as we see how she lived of the Ascension. We can see that her hope remained when her Son Ascended where the Apostles were still slow to understand. We see this when they asked Him a questions as He was about to leave them: “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). This is their major concern.
The Mystery of the Cross did not enlighten them. In their view, Christ’s Resurrection should imply a Messianism, a kind of earthly political reign of Christ over the earth. Jesus, assures them they will not know the hour or day, but the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon them and they shall be His witnesses. The Apostles were not expecting such an abrupt departure. With any separation one is inevitably overcome with sadness, but their sadness is overcome with hope of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Mary, on the other hand, lives a direct way by the mystery of the Ascension.
Unlike the Apostles, she did not desire a Messianic reign because at the Cross she knew it was a Divine reign, a reign of love. While the Resurrection increased her hope and trust in Jesus. Her love was pure and she lived of the Ascension without sadness. Therefore, the Ascension allows Mary to consider Heaven even more intensely as her proper place and home. In her hope, she acquires a wonderful simplicity, since her desire of Heaven goes along with the desire of her maternal heart to be with her Son.
Let us pray for our Mother’s that they remain under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May they be strengthened to lead their children along with their husbands to deeper faith and a hope that someday the entire family will reach Heaven.