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THOU ART GONE UP ON HIGH

Christ the King returns in triumph to the celestial glory, with our human nature conjoined to His divinity. Where He has gone we long to follow. We fix our hearts and minds on reaching that realm where we hope to be crowned, one day. We have to live in this material world always remembering that we were made for heaven.

If we forget that heaven is our home we risk becoming earthbound, as though the Lord had not ascended, as though life here below were still a closed circle. The gates of heaven are thrown wide open to receive Christ the King, and they remain wide open so that we His motley subjects may follow after Him.

Following Him involves keeping that upward path in view, always trying to look beyond the immediacy of this world by seeking those things which are above. This is the opposite of escapism. We are not running away from reality, but running towards it.

In the sacred liturgy we lift up our hearts to contemplate that which is above: the glory of the Lord. Through the sacred liturgy we make repeated visits to the foothills of heaven. Those visits sharpen our longing for what lies beyond the cloud, that cloud which both covered and revealed the Kingship of Christ at His Ascension.

The awe and reverence with which we celebrate Holy Mass help to deepen our understanding that the realm above is more real than the shadows and images of our temporary lodgings here below. Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament helps us to keep in mind that the material world we see around us is but a tiny segment of reality as it truly is, as God sees it.

On the mountain of the Ascension the angels said to the men of Galilee, “why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” One might reply, “we have to gaze a little, so as not to forget where He has gone, and where we are to follow”. If the angels were feeling talkative they would perhaps add, “yes, but as well as gazing, you also have work to do. Go and get on with it”.

What is our work? To evangelize, to make converts, to baptize, to catechize, to serve, to heal, to sanctify. We do this so that all mankind (yes, all mankind) may come to love and worship the one true God (yes, the one true God): Christ the King of all creation, risen, ascended, and glorified.