Vatican City, 20 May 2012 (VIS) – Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks before praying the Regina Coeli this morning to the Ascension of the Lord, which in many countries is celebrated today, the Sunday following the feast.
“The Ascension of the Lord”, the Pope explained to faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, “marks the fulfilment of the salvation which began with the Incarnation. Having instructed His disciples for the last time, Jesus ascended into heaven. Nevertheless, He ‘did not separate Himself from our condition’ because, in His humanity, he drew mankind into intimacy with the Father and thus revealed the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage. Just as, for us, He descended from heaven and suffered death on the cross, so too, for us, He arose and returned to God, Who is thus no longer distant, but is ‘our God’, ‘our Father’. The Ascension is the last act of our liberation from the yoke of sin”.
The Holy Father recalled St. Leo the Great’s explanation that “this mystery proclaims not only the immortality of the soul, but also that of the flesh. … For this reason, when the disciples saw the Master arise from the earth and ascend towards heaven, they were not discouraged but experienced great joy and felt impelled to proclaim Christ’s victory over death”.
“The Ascension”, the Holy Father concluded, “tells us that in Christ our humanity is raised to the heights of God and so, each time we pray, earth unites with heaven”.