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Our Lord to-day ascended to Heaven, the reward of His labours. This reward, the goal which we also must aim at. Our Lord tells us this, and also shows the means to do it.
Christ tells us Heaven is our goal:
I. By His Words :
1. “I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.
2. “I will that where I am, they also may be.” John 17:24.
3. “To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with Me in My throne.” Rev 3:21.
a. What words could be more clear than these?
b. What promises more consoling?
c. Heaven then must be the object of our aim, as shown also
II. By remarkable Facts:
a. Five hundred disciples witness the Ascension of Our Lord. As though to put it beyond the possibility of doubt.
b. A cloud received Him out of sight (Acts 1:).
1. The ordinary accompaniment of the Divinity.
2. Realizing the words of the Royal Prophet: “Who makest the clouds Thy chariot” (Ps 104:3).
c. Angels announce His entry into Heaven (Acts 1:10-11).
Such facts confirm Our Lord’s words: and He encourages us also
III. By material proofs :
a. The marks of His feet, left on the rock whence He ascended.
b. The impossibility of covering them over. According to Saints Jerome and Augustine, when S. Helen, in the 4th century built a Church over the place whence our Lord ascended to Heaven, never could they succeed in laying a stone upon the traces of His sacred feet in the rock, nor in closing the roof over them, which at that point ever remained open to the Heavens above.
c. The very feast of to-day, instituted by the Apostles themselves. Clearly showing the thought of Heaven as its object.
Christ shows us the means, of reaching Heaven:
I. By His Words (Luke 9:23.
1. Renouncing our own wishes and desires.
2. Submission of Intellect and Will to God.
3. Mortification, a preservative against sin. As salt is, against corruption in food.
b. Carrying the Cross cheerfully:
1. Each one has his own cross in life: From friend or foe, poverty or sickness, etc.
2. If we refuse one cross, we may find a heavier.
c. Following Christ, by
1. Imitating His hidden life.
2. Practising the Christian virtues.
3. The spirit of self-sacrifice,
II. By His Example :
a. He ascended from the very place of His previous humiliations. As though showing that trial and triumph go together.
b. Nothing so encourages the army, as the example of the General.
A. Walk in the path, thus shown by Our Saviour. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (john 14:6.
B. This we promised in Baptism to do: then,
C. As He is our only Redeemer, so will He be our eternal Reward.~Fr. William Howe, Sermon Plan 187.