Blog di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA – Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa MISSIONARY ONGOING FORMATION – A missionary look on the life of the world and the church
Among the deeper mysteries in life is the mystery of the Ascension. It’s not so much that we misunderstand it, we simply don’t understand it.
Historically, the ascension was an event within the life of Jesus and the early church and is now a feast day for Christians, one that links Easter to Pentecost. But it is more than an historical event, it is at the same time a theology, a spirituality, and an insight into life that we need to understand to better sort out the paradoxical interplay between life and death, presence and absence, love and loss.
Here’s an example: I was 22 years old when in the space of four months both of my parents, still young, died. For my siblings and me the pain was searing. Initially we were nearly overwhelmed with a sense of being orphaned, abandoned, of losing a vital life-connection (that, ironically, we had mostly taken for granted until then). And our feelings were mainly cold. There’s little that’s warm in death.
After several years, the coldness disappeared, and my parents’ deaths were no longer a painful thing. I felt again their presence, and now as a warm, nurturing spirit that was with me all time. The coldness of death turned into a warmth. They had gone away but now they could give me their love and blessing in a way that they never could fully while they were alive. Their going away eventually created a deeper and purer presence.
And this is even true, perhaps particularly so, in cases where our loved ones were difficult characters who struggled for peace or to bless anyone in this life. Death washes clean and releases the spirit and, even in the case of people who struggled to love, we can after their deaths receive their blessing in way we never could while they were alive. Like Jesus, they could only give us their real presence by going away.
Separation hurts, goodbyes bring painful tears, and death of every kind wrenches the heart. But that is part of the mystery of love. Eventually we all reach a point where what is best for everyone is that we go away so that we can give our spirit.
The gift that our lives are can only be fully received after we ascend.
To read more click here