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Ascension

“The ritual life of Israel and later Judah was aimed entirely at maintaining the purity of sacred space so that Yahweh, the holy God could dwell there and of the people so that they could draw near to him. It served, from Moses to Christ, as a sin management system for the people of God to allow for repentance and restoration. It did this until Christ, through his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement made us sons of God just as Abraham had been promised (Genesis 12:26).” (Father Stephen De Young)


“Christ’s Ascension is powerful, in part, because it is a withdrawal that opens up a space for faith to be voluntary rather than coerced.” (Metropolitan John of Pergamon)


“ ‘It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you’ (Jn 16:7). The Lord’s departure (by means of His Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension) sets in place the necessary, eternal foundation of our salvation. We receive an ineffable blessing from God, for Christ has trampled down death by death once and for all. He bestows life upon all of us who take His hand, allowing the Savior to raise us up from spiritual death.” (Dynamis 6/2/2020)

“The ascension and the sending of the Spirit means that we now have more of Jesus, not less of Him. That is why the Lord said at the end of Matthew’s Gospel that He would be with us until the close of age. These words were not a denial of a future ascension, but a promise of it. The challenge for us now is to live as children of the ascension, and as children of the Spirit. Our Lord’s presence and power are always available to us. The question is: how often do we avail ourselves of them?” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)


“The Church’s celebration of the Ascension…is not merely the remembrance of an event in Christ’s life. Indeed, the Ascension itself is not to be understood as though it were simply the supernatural event of a man floating up and away into the skies. The Holy Scripture stresses Christ’s physical departure and His glorification with God the Father, together with the great joy which His disciples had as they received the promise of the Holy Spirit Who was to come to assure the Lord’s presence with them, enabling them to be His witnesses to the ends of earth (Lk 24.48–53; Acts 1.8–11; Mt 28.20; Mk 16.16–14). In the Church the believers in Christ celebrate these very same realities with the conviction that it is for them and for all men that Christ’s departure from this world has taken place. The Lord leaves in order to be glorified with God the Father and to glorify us with Himself. He goes in order to “prepare a place” for and to take us also into the blessedness of God’s presence. He goes to open the way for all flesh into the “heavenly sanctuary . . . the Holy Place not made by hands” (see Hebrews 8–10). He goes in order send the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father to bear witness to Him and His Gospel in the world, making Him powerfully present in the lives of disciples.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)


“At the incarnation, Christ brought His divine nature to human nature. In the mystery of the Ascension, Christ brings human nature to the divine Kingdom…Christ, who “tempered” His divinity by taking on humanity, that humanity by grace might take on divinity.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 24:51, Ezekiel 1:3-4)


“When the Lord ascended to the heavens, He did not divest Himself of His humanity. He raised “the likeness of Adam, cast into the vaults of Hades, lifting it with [His] Ascension to the heavens and making it equal in rank to Thy Father’s throne” (orthros verse for the Ascension). Christ’s raising of human nature to the right hand of the Father assures us that the way is now open to all who diligently seek the restoration of their humanity. The elevation of our nature gives everyone in every nation on earth the motivation “go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob [that] He [may] proclaim His way to us [so that] we [may] walk in it” (Isaiah 2:3).” (Dynamis 6/5/2019)


“Thus, the Lord completed the arc of…His Divine Plan of Salvation on our behalf…His Ascension is no desertion of His flock…Rather, it is the way that He is present to His Flock no matter how far and wide it may extend, even to the uttermost parts of the earth…by His Ascension, the Lord has, as Saint Paul says, “seated us in heavenly places,” such that through and in His human nature, every human being is potentially already in the Heavenly Realm. He presents His Divine Humanity…And we are already there with Him! His Humanity is our humanity.” (Archbishop Elpidophoros)


“The Ascension makes thoughts of heaven more immediate, more actual to us. Do we think of our permanent home often enough? For most Christians, life in heaven is no more than a supplement—of which they have but a very hazy notion—to life on earth. Life in heaven is seen somewhat as a postscript, an appendix, to a book whose text is formed by earthly life…Jesus does not return to his Father in isolation. It was the incorporeal Logos which came down among men. But today it is the Word made flesh, both true God and true man, who enters the kingdom of heaven. Jesus brings into it the human nature which he had assumed. He opens the door of the kingdom to humanity. As if by proxy, we take possession of the benefits which are offered and made possible to us. ‘[God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’. There are places destined for us in the kingdom, if we are faithful. Our presence is desired and awaited.” (Lev Gillet)


“Christ ascended to be seated at “the right hand of the Father” in glory, thus lifting up the humanity He assumed in the Incarnation into the very inner life of God. For all eternity, Christ is God and man. The deified humanity of the Lord is the sign of our future destiny “in Christ.”…In the same way as He came down, without changing place but condescending to us, so He returns once more, without moving as God, but enthroning on high our human nature which He had assumed.” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff, Saint Gregory Palamas)


“At the incarnation, Christ brought His divine nature to human nature. In the mystery of the Ascension, Christ brings human nature to the divine Kingdom.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 24:51)

"In raising human nature to heaven by His Ascension, Christ has given us the hope of arriving there ourselves." (St. Thomas Aquinas)

“Because we have so accepted this dichotomous rupture between body and soul as ‘reality’ we often describe our Faith in terms of “saving souls.” We seldom think of our bodies being eternally involved in salvation as well. However the Second Person of the Holy Trinity did not become flesh, suffer, die and rise from the dead to “save souls.” Jesus Christ came to save whole ‘persons.” (Father Thomas Loya)

“When the Lord ascended to the heavens, He did not divest Himself of His humanity. He raised “the likeness of Adam, cast into the vaults of Hades, lifting it with [His] Ascension to the heavens and making it equal in rank to Thy Father’s throne”...Christ’s raising of human nature to the right hand of the Father assures us that the way is now open to all who diligently seek the restoration of their humanity.” (OCPM 6/8/2016)

“Of course, there will be trying periods in our life when the path of ascension toward God will seem exceptionally difficult. Then we should think that for every step taken there are a thousand rewards being prepared. Sufferings along this path are momentary, but the rewards are eternal." (St. Innocent of Alaksa)


#OrthodoxStudyBible #StThomasAquinas #FatherThomasLoya #OCPM #StInnocentofAlaska #Dynamis #ArchbishopElpidophoros #LevGillet #FrStephenKostoff #SaintGregoryPalamas #FatherStephenDeYoung #MetropolitanJohnofPergamon #FrLawrenceFarley #FrThomasHopko

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