Mandeville, LA – The sun of the fortieth day has risen in all his splendour. The earth which shook with gladness at the birth of our Emmanuel (Psalms xcv. xcvi. xcvii.)now thrills with a strange emotion. The divine series of the mysteries of the Man-God is about to close. Heaven has caught up the joy of earth. The Angelic Choirs are preparing to receive their promised King, and their Princes stand at the Gates, that they may open them when the signal is given of the mighty Conqueror’s approach.
Tiberius, who sits on the imperial throne, trembling at every shadow of conspiracy, little suspects that there is being prepared an expedition which is to conquer the Roman Empire.
The holy souls that were liberated from Limbo on the morning of the Resurrection are hovering round Jerusalem, waiting for the happy moment when Heaven’s gate, closed by Adam’s sin, will be thrown open and they will enter in company with their Redeemer: a few hours more, and then to Heaven! Meanwhile, our Risen Jesus has to visit His Disciples and bid them farewell, for they are to be left for some years longer in this vale of tears.
Then, assuming a tone of authority, such as none but a God could take, He says to them: “Go into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptised, will be saved: but he that believes not will be condemned” (Mark xvi. 15, 16). And how will they accomplish this mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world? How will they persuade men to believe their word? By miracles. “And these signs,” continues Jesus, “will follow them that believe: in my name they will cast out devils; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands upon the sick, and they will recover” (Mark xvi. 17, 18).
He would have miracles to be the foundation of His Church, just as He had made them the argument of His own divine mission. The suspension of the laws of nature proves to us that it is God who speaks. We must receive the word and humbly believe it. Here, then, we have men unknown to the world and devoid of every human means, and yet commissioned to conquer the earth and make it acknowledge Jesus as its King! The world ignores their very existence. Tiberius, who sits on the imperial throne, trembling at every shadow of conspiracy, little suspects that there is being prepared an expedition which is to conquer the Roman Empire. – Dom Prosper Gueranger, Our Lord’s Ascension