By his descent to this world through the Incarnation, he assumed us in life–the Creator and Creation unite in the person of Christ. The Divine comes in contact with the flesh. By his death as the divine man, he filled death with himself, and defeated it, for death cannot contain him. By his Resurrection, God the Father "introduces the Son's humanity, including his body, into the Trinity" as the Catechism says. By his Ascension, a glorified divine man assumes his place at the right hand of the Father—the God-Man Jesus Christ. "Only the one who descended can ascend into heaven." Through our Baptism we are grafted into to his Body, and so share in Him as the "whole Christ." The Body of Christ, being one with the Head, follows the Son in hope into the glory of God the Father.
Sermon from St. Augustine on Ascension DayToday our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.
He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.
Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.
fill us with a holy joy;
teach us how to thank you with reverence and love
on account of the ascension of Christ your Son.
You have raised us up with him:
where he, the head, has preceded us in glory,
there we, the body, are called in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.