Ascension and Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year A

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Father of the orphan, defender of the widow, such is God in his holy place (Ps. 68:6)

The collect prayer for the Seventh Sunday of Easter asks: “Father, help us keep in mind that Jesus Christ our Savior lives with you in glory and promised to remain with us until the end of time.”

If there is a grain of truth in the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” then it behooves me to pray thus in earnest, devoting myself to prayer, in the company of the brothers and sisters, with Mary, the mother of Jesus. For, indeed, Jesus was lifted up and a cloud took him from human sight. And because I neither see Jesus with my eyes nor perceive him with any of my bodily senses, he could therefore easily be out of my mind, and I might soon forget as well his promise to remain with his followers until the end of the age. So help me God.

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give me a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. And in knowing him, the only true God, and the one whom he sent, Jesus Christ, may God grant me eternal life even as I face death daily here on earth. May God enlighten, if not my bodily eyes, then the eyes of my heart that I may know the hope to which I have been called through Jesus. May Jesus, who is no longer in the world while remaining with his followers, keep pleading with the Father for me who am in the world, so that, though still on earth, I may think of what is above, not of what is on earth, and seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

But if Christ ascended, teaches Eph. 4:9, it was because he also descended into the lower regions of the earth. And my reading of this passage suggests to me that keeping in mind both Jesus living in glory with the Father and his promise to remain with us until the end of time also means seeing him and feeling his presence in those he has identified with, those he called the least of his brothers and sisters.

Thus, I believe, was St. Vincent de Paul reminded of Jesus and of his promise to grace his followers with his presence. In this way too he devoted himself to prayer, sharing in the sufferings of Christ so he might also rejoice exultantly with Christ. It is my hope that I will both be prayerful in this Vincentian way and that my prayer will be answered in the same way. Praying and being answered in this Vincentian way will go to show, I think, that the memorial that makes Jesus really present, and where I partake of the body and blood of the Lord, is truly a coming together to eat and a waiting for one another (1 Cor. 10:16; 11:33). And this Vincentian spirituality can surely transform mine and others’ humanity (cf. Father Robert P. Maloney’s PowerPoint presentation,Five Faces of St. Vincent de Paul, “V – Vincent, the Gentlest Man of his Time”.