Sunday, May 20, 2007

Out of Sight!

Peace and Good! The liturgy of the Ascension celebrates Christ being taken beyond our sight. The Alternative Opening Prayer says: “Our minds were prepared for the coming of your kingdom when you took Christ beyond our sight.” The Second Preface for the Feast of the Ascension says that he “has passed beyond our sight not to abandon us but to be our hope.”
Perhaps if we had Jesus visible among us (and who could bear that sight?), we would be tempted to say that we know where he is, and we would not look any further. Yet we believe that his presence is among us in so many ways: in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, in the poor and in the beauty of the world around us, and especially in the suffering he shares with us that we might share His Glory.
Francis came to know this in a very particular way, through his experience of God’s sweetness in his encounter with the leper. He experienced that Jesus Christ was truly present there, in that poor sufferer in front of him. From that experience Francis knew he had to seek the presence of Jesus in all its different manifestations.
Our conversion involves our letting go of an image of Jesus which restricts his presence to the places or ways we are comfortable with. He has gone ‘beyond our sight’ precisely so that we will never stop looking for him. May God help us to open our eyes, or better, to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit (for the Ascension is always tied to Pentecost) so that the Spirit may help us to see with spiritual eyes Christ among us, beyond us, within us, beside us.
God bless!

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