Fr. Dehon’s meditation on the Ascension

May 17 is the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord
May 17 is the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord


Fr. Jim Schroeder translated a meditation by Fr. Leo John Dehon on the Ascension, which the founder included in his 1909 booklet The Year of the Sacred Heart

Fr. Dehon wrote:

“Then He told took them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, He blessed them. While He was blessing them, He withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven” Luke 24.50-51.

1st Prelude. Jesus leaves, but he has promised his Spirit who will be the intermediary between souls and Himself.

2nd Prelude. O Lord, keep me united with your Heart through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Jim Schroeder, SCJ
Fr. Jim Schroeder, SCJ

POINT II: Goodbyes and promises. — The private goodbyes to Mary must have been very moving.

The public goodbyes to the apostles and disciples began in the Cenacle and ended on the Mount of Olives.

Our Lord wanted to re-unite them one last time in the Cenacle and speak at length with them. . . . Our Lord had one last meal with his apostles. He completed His teachings, his counsel, his promises; He ordered them to spend ten days in retreat to prepare themselves for Pentecost: “While staying with them, He ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1.4).

These were the last goodbyes and the testament of a father. This scene is even grander than that of Jacob blessing his children before dying.

Our Lord promises the Holy Spirit. “This, He said, will be a new baptism which will transform you; it is my Spirit who will live in you, who will teach you, who will console you.” He points out their mission: they will go to preach everywhere penance and the forgiveness of sins; they will offer baptism and the sacraments; they will organize the church, the spiritual reign of God. The apostles are still thinking of the restoration of the kingdom of Israel.   They question our Lord on this subject. He responds to not trouble themselves: “God alone, He says to them, knows the season and the hour for everything.”

After these long conversations, more moving than we would ever know how to say, our Lord led them to the Mount of Olives, as on the evening of Holy Thursday; but today it is no longer to give Himself up to suffering, it is to be glorified there: He led them out as far as Bethany. On the way and right up to the top of the mountain, He continued to lavish His advice and consolation on them: “You will be my witnesses, he said to them, you will preach what you have seen and heard, in Jerusalem first, then in Judea, in Palestine and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8).

And since He had finished speaking, He rose up to heaven while giving them His blessing, for them and for all the church. Let us picture to ourselves His last looks to Mary, to the Magdalene, to Saint John, to Saint Peter; and let us see the flood of tears that poured from all those He thus abandoned.

Resolutions: I unite my humble praise with that of heaven: Glory to our God and to the divine Lamb. Like the apostles, I am going to prepare myself for Pentecost, to then devote myself to the apostolate with new zeal. The scars of Jesus teach me that we only reach heaven through the cross. His open Heart especially draws my love.

Colloquy with Jesus glorified.