Sunday after the Ascension

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Sunday after the Ascension
Hear, O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to Thee, alleluia; my heart hath said to Thee, I have sought Thy face, Thy face, O Lord, I will seek: turn not away Thy face from me, alleluia, alleluia. * The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? (Psalm 26:7,8,9,1 from the Introit of Mass)

O almighty and eternal God, grant us ever to have a will devoted to Thee, and with a sincere heart to serve Thy majesty.
(Collect)

The Lesson is taken from the Epistle of St. Peter
:

Dearly beloved: be ye sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord. R. Deo grátias. R. Thanks be to God


Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me: and you shall give testimony, because you are with Me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things I have told you, that, when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them. (St. John 15:26-27 and 16:1-4)

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"To-day," says St. Augustine, "we shall keep the Ascension of our Lord in a fitting manner, with devotion, sanctity and piety, if we ascend with Him and keep our hearts on high." "Let our thoughts be there, where He is, and here on earth there will be peace." "Let us ascend with Him now, with our hearts, and when His promised day comes, we shall follow Him also with our bodies; but we should know that neither pride, nor avarice, nor lust ascend with Christ. If we wish to follow our Healer in His Ascension, we must put off the burden of our vices and sins"

This Sunday is a preparation for Pentecost. Before ascending to heaven, our Lord had promised, at the Last Supper, that He would not leave us orphans, but would send us His Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (Gospel, Alleluia); that in all things we might glorify God, through Jesus Christ our Lord (Gospel). Therefore, like the Apostles assembled in the Cenacle, we must prepare by prayer and charity (Epistle) for the holy Day of Pentecost, when Christ, who is "our Advocate with the Father" (First nocturn), will obtain for us from Him the Holy Ghost.

Dearly beloved, our Saviour is gone up from us into heaven; hence let us not be troubled here on earth. If our hearts and minds be there, we shall have peace here. If in heart and mind we thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, then, when that glad day which he hath promised shall come, the body too shall follow. But we must know, my brethren, that there are some things that cannot ascend with Christ; price cannot, nor avarice, nor lust; no one of our diseases can ascend thither where our Healer is. And, therefore, if we would follow our Healer, we must needs leave our diseases, and sins behind us. All such things tie us down, as it were with bands, and hamper us in the meshes of a net of sins; but, with God's help, we will say with the Psalmist: Let us break our bonds asunder: that we may be able honestly to sing unto the Lord: Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder;

I will offer to thee the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
The resurrection of the Lord is our hope; the Ascension of the Lord is our glorification. Today we are keeping the Feast of the Ascension. If, therefore, we are to celebrate this holy day right fittingly, faithfully, devoutly, and in a holy and religious manner, we must in mind likewise ascend, and lift up our hearts, unto the Lord. When we ascend we must not be high-minded, nor flatter ourselves with our good works, as though they were our own. Rather, we must lift up our hearts unto the Lord. When man's heart is lifted up, but not unto the Lord, such lifting up is pride; to lift up the heart unto the Lord, is to make the Most High our Refuge. Behold, my brethren, a great wonder. God is high, but if thou art lifted up he fleeth from thee; whereas, if thou humblest thyself, he cometh down to thee. Wherefore? The Lord is high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly; as for the proud he beholdeth them afar off. To the lowly he hath respect, that he may raise them up; the proud he knoweth from afar, that he may thrust them down.

Then saith the Lord, as though in continuation: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. What connection hath this with the foregoing words? Which words are: Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father; but this cometh to pass that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law, They hated me without a cause. Is not this the connection? to wit:

When the Comforter is come, even the Spirit of Truth, he will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and judgment. That is to say, this stirring up of conviction in men's hearts is the testimony of the Spirit of Truth unto all such as have both seen and hated both God the Son and God the Father.

Yea, for some there were who had thus seen, and were still in hatred, until the testimony of the Comforter converted them to the Faith which worketh by love.


 
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