Weird and Wonderful: the Essence of the Ascension
It’s time, once again, to reflect upon the Ascension of Jesus Christ…
Okay, it’s true, Catholics believe some radical things. Like the Ascension. We profess that Jesus not only rose from the dead, but also went bodily to a supernatural place that we call Heaven. His risen body is glorified, we believe, able to eat, walk, withstand probing, and all the other things that a normal body can do – but also able to pass through walls and bear a deadly wound without death or bleeding. And, now, Jesus, in all that he is, both human and divine, abides bodily… somewhere… some where that isn’t exactly here… or there… somewhere from which he will return… somewhere which we hope to be. This is the Catholic Christian faith. And it does rather seem all too fantastic to be true.
But, then again, have you heard about quarks? Dark matter? Dark energy? The world which we take to be solid and true is too wonderful to comprehend in its entirety or even in the entirety of its smallest part… for what is its smallest part? We would know nothing of the existence of, say, subatomic particles if a privileged few people hadn’t “seen” them and then told us about them. Tales of whitedwarfs and blackholes sound like mere tall tales indeed, but the small percentage of our population, called scientists, are intelligent and fervent in their telling of them. And we accept. We have not seen the proof and, even if we did, most of us would not be able to understand the “proof” – but, we believe.
Life is profoundly complex and marvelously weird. We would be arrogant to think that everything in existence can fit into our limited brains. There is so much more than what we know, so much more than what we can imagine…. The myriad clusters of stars and sweep of galaxies in the night sky are as beautiful to my eyes as the exuberant profusion of blue forget-me-nots in the garden beneath my window. Sometimes, I may think that the superabundance of suns and planets in the universe renders the specially-intended and divinely-loved existence of human beings into a myth. Yet… is it a myth, a fairytale, that the superabundance of apple blossoms blooming only rarely yield forth a tree? From countless seeds come not countless plants – all that is required, all that is hoped for, is but one.
This is how God creates. For this is how God loves. Profusely, limitless, overgenerous in creative exuberance and abundant forgiveness… what goodness there is now is only the smallest part of what will be.
So, yes, I believe. Jesus, our savior and Lord, is fully where he promised to be, where he will call us to join him one day. Although we may not know “where” that is, we know the way… the way of Christ, of pure and self-giving love without limits. Just so, though we may not know the exact purpose and workings of the plethora of stars and flowers, we know the beauty… the wonder and awe-inspiring beauty of life…
– of life loved exuberantly into being.
© 2016 Christina Chase
originally posted 2015
photo© 2015 Dan Chase
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
We agree that Catholics believe some radical things and have very weird ideas about Biblical figures. As such they make the Divine Creator, Who was before everything to have a mother, so having her being before Him (?!?)
Catholics also neglect God His sayings about Jesus as well as Jesus his sayings about himself and about God, his heavenly Father.
Why are Catholics denying what God says and minimising what Jesus has done and making a liar of him (in case he would be God), but also of God?
God cannot be seen by man, nor has He flesh, bones or blood. God has no birth and cannot die. Jesus about who God said that this man of flesh and bones is His only begotten beloved son, really died and was taken up in the skies to come to sit next to God.
‘Sitting at God’s right hand’ means not just participating in his divine dominion over space but what most Christians seem to forget is that it really means sitting next to the Only One True God, showing clearly that Jesus, who was lower than angels, now was taken in the heavens to come to sit next to his heavenly Father to be a mediator between God and man, and not to become an other god for many people.
I appreciate your interesting comment.
You are right that no one and nothing can preexist God, for God is the Uncreated Creator of all. In this sense, then, God cannot have a mother. But, Jesus most certainly does have a mother. Jesus is fully human – he is born, flesh and blood, and he did truly die – AND Jesus is fully divine, the Incarnate Son of God, Second Divine Person of the Holy Trinity “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (Not three gods, but only one God.) Jesus is the Word made flesh to dwell among us. This belief in the divinity of Jesus is not exclusive to Catholics, but is shared by the majority of Christians. It is a profound and awesome Mystery.
We could go back and forth and debate the Mystery of the Incarnation, maybe rehash Arianism and Augustine, but I choose not to do that here. I choose, rather, to celebrate our shared belief in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
Now, I did say that Catholics believe some weird things. But, we both believe in the Ascension, which is profoundly extraordinary, and that means that nonbelievers around the world think that both of us are weird for believing such a thing. But, Jesus didn’t call us to be ordinary. The Christian life is a radical life of self-giving love.
In the peace of Christ,
your fellow Christian,
We do agree totally that ” Jesus most certainly does have a mother” as well as with ” Jesus is fully human” but with the other part “Jesus is fully divine” it depends on what you understand by that. You as a Catholic naturally believes not what Jesus and God said about each other but prefer to keep to the human dogma of the trinity, looking at Jesus as God Incarnate.
Like you want to share the belief in what Jesus has done (though God cannot die) we believe in Jesus having given his life (died) for the sins of all and as such liberated us all from the curse of death. In that same believe we can be as different parts of the Body of Christ bring the message of the Good News of the Kingdom.
Therefore we wish you good luck in sharing that Good News of the Gospel and let us all share the love of Christ with all people around us.
It saddens me that you think I prefer “human dogma”. I have had a long journey of faith, with many explorations, coming finally and completely to the fullness of truth in Christ. There are people all over the world who think that the Bible itself is merely a human invention. Thanks be to God, you and I know better: Sacred Scripture is the inspired Word of God. As a Catholic, I take the entirety of the Scriptures, disregarding nothing.
Again, as you eloquently said, we are all members of the Body of Christ, each with his or her own God-given mission to share the Good News of the Kingdom. I appreciate your closing sentiment and pray that God will bless you, as well. Yes, indeed, may we all share the awesome and profound love of Christ with everyone around us, not only through our words, but also with our lives. Thank you.
In the peace of Christ Jesus,
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