As a child — and doubtless due to studying J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” sequence — I discovered myself drawn to Norse mythology, and reveled in folktales from the far north as I evaded homework.
A favourite story was a predictable “boy meets-loses-finds woman” yarn, however one which had an attention-grabbing twist. Previous to securing the maiden, and on the damsel’s personal orders, the hero needed to provide you with a hiding place she couldn’t suss out. A wizard suggested the lad to magically conceal himself first as a rabbit after which as a bear, with neither disguise convincing the woman and as an alternative scary her ridicule.
Lastly, the wizard recommended the youth strive a location the place the honest woman would by no means suppose to look: her coronary heart. The trick labored, and ultimately it served to make the pair even dearer to one another.
In a way, Christ’s Ascension into heaven, throughout which “he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from (the Apostles’) sight” (Acts 1:9), is a bit just like the previous folktale. This “historic and transcendent occasion” marks “the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly area” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 660, 665). After the trauma of the crucifixion, the resurrected Lord had spent 40 days feeding, consoling and instructing his disciples — and the way blessed that point should have been for them! From a strictly human perspective, then, Jesus’ superb departure for his seat on the Father’s proper hand would understandably have evoked at the very least a bit of melancholy amongst his associates. In spite of everything, who amongst us has not mourned when family members have left our firm for journeys each on earth and into eternity?
Paradoxically, although, Jesus’ Ascension introduced him even nearer to his followers, as Christ himself predicted it could: “I let you know the reality, it’s higher for you that I am going. For if I don’t go, the Advocate is not going to come to you. But when I am going, I’ll ship him to you” (Jn 16:7).
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, “can be with (us) at all times,” stated Jesus, though the world “neither sees nor is aware of it” (Jn 14:17). For that purpose, Christ can actually reassure us that although our eyes behold him not in his glorified Physique, we now have not been deserted: “I cannot depart you orphans; I’ll come to you” (Jn 14:18).
Mary and Joseph had a foretaste of how a divinely appointed separation can really deepen the love between creature and Creator. Unbeknownst to his mother and father, a 12-year-old Jesus had remained in Jerusalem after the annual Passover celebration, and solely after three frantic days did they lastly monitor him down within the Temple, the place he was amid the academics, “listening to them and asking them questions” (Lk 2:41-52). After that determined time of looking out, which precipitated Mary and Joseph “nice anxiousness” (Lk 2:48), discovering Jesus should have revealed much more totally how infinitely treasured he was to them.
Nowhere does Jesus disguise himself extra tenderly than within the Eucharist, getting into into the depths of our being in his very Physique and Blood, manifested by means of the bread and the wine. That transformation is effected by means of the workings of the Holy Spirit, who was despatched after the Ascension from Christ’s “place with the Father” (Catechism, 690) and who “places us into communion with Christ” (Catechism, 688).
Not like the traditional Norse story, nevertheless, there isn’t any wizardry or capricious problem right here, however slightly an omnipotent God who, in his unfathomable love, nestles in our hearts to unveil his personal.
Gina Christian is a senior content material producer at CatholicPhilly.com, host of the Inside CatholicPhilly.com podcast and creator of the forthcoming e-book “Stations of the Cross for Sexual Abuse Survivors.” Observe her on Twitter at @GinaJesseReina.