WDTPRS: Sunday after Ascension Thursday (1962MR) – COLLECT

From an old article for The Wanderer :

Today’s Secret survived the vivisections of the experts of the Consilium to survive in the Novus Ordo editions of the Missale Romanum as the Super Oblata of Monday after the 7th Sunday of Easter.   In other words, tomorrow (in respect to the Sunday we are studying today)… if that clears everything up.

- (1962MR):
Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus:
ut, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum Redemptorem nostrum
ad caelos ascendisse credimus;
ipsi quoque mente in caelestibus habitemus.

Our hard working Lewis & Short Dictionary can have a little rest today, I think.  There is nothing especially noteworthy in the vocabulary.  Let us therefore move on to a straight-forward…

Grant, we beseech You, Almighty God,
that we, who believe Your Only Begotten Son our Redeemer,
to have ascended on this day to heaven,
may ourselves also dwell in mind amongst heavenly things.

Bl. Abbot Columba Marmion, OSB (+1923), wrote in Christ in His Mysteries that “of all the feasts of Our Lord … the Ascension is the greatest, because it is the supreme glorification of Christ Jesus.” Then, speaking about the very Collect we are looking at today, Bl. Columba says, “This prayer first of all testifies to our faith in the mystery in recalling the title ‘Only-begotten Son’ and ‘Redeemer’, given to Jesus, the Church shows forth the reasons for the celestial exaltation of her Bridegroom;—she finally denotes the grace therein contained for our souls. … The mystery of Jesus Christ’s Ascension is represented to us in a manner suitable to our nature: we contemplate the Sacred Humanity rising from the earth and ascending visibly towards the heavens.”

Of course it is not only Christ’s humanity but our humanity that ascended into heaven.

Preaching on 1 June 444 St. Pope Leo I “the Great” said, “Truly it was a great and indescribable source of rejoicing when, in the sight of the heavenly multitudes, the nature of our human race ascended over the dignity of all heavenly creatures, to pass the angelic orders and to be raised beyond the heights of archangels. In its ascension it did not stop at any other height until this same nature was received at the seat of the eternal Father, to be associated on the throne of the glory of that One to whose nature it was joined in the Son.” 

Leo says in another sermon of 17 May 445, “This Faith, reinforced by the Ascension of the Lord and strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, has not been terrified by chains, by prison, by exile, by hunger, by fire, by the mangling of wild beasts, nor by sharp suffering from the cruelty of persecutors.  Throughout the world, not only men but also women, not just immature boys but also tender virgins, have struggled on behalf of this Faith even to the shedding of their blood.  This Faith has cast out demons, driven away sicknesses, and raised the dead.”  The knowledge that our humanity is now enjoying heaven can work wonders for us in the hour of need. Keep this in mind in time of trial. 

We Catholics know that what was not assumed, was not redeemed (St. Gregory of Nazianzus).  Our humanity, body and soul, was taken by the Son into an unbreakable bond with His divinity. When Christ rose from the tomb, our humanity rose in Him.  When He ascended to heaven, so also did we.  In Christ our humanity now sits at the Father’s right hand.  His presence there is our great promise and hope.  It is already fulfilled, but not yet in its fullness.  That hope informs our trials in this life.

When the Lord ascended to heaven He did not lose touch with us His people in this vale of tears.  St. Augustine in s. 341 talks about Christ’s presence in every word of Scripture as Word equal to the Father; or as the mediator in the flesh dwelling in our midst; or Christ as the Head and Body together as in a spousal relationship, Christ and His Church intimately bound. 

This means that Christ is not insensible to our sufferings.  Our faith in this unbreakable bond of Head and Body calls us to be clean and worthy of this saving intimacy.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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7 Responses to WDTPRS: Sunday after Ascension Thursday (1962MR) – COLLECT

  1. Sandy says:

    If only we could hear YOUR translations at Mass, Father. You would be surprised at how often I think of you at Mass, when I hear such banal translations of what used to be powerful prayers. Lex orandi, lex credendi. It is amazing how many people do not understand that there is supernatural power in the original words – those we used to have in the Latin, when there was only Latin.

    One of the uses that bothers me is the singular “sin” used instead of the plural in so many places. I don’t know if it began with those awful disposal missalettes and the liberties they take, or…. Maybe it was something you wrote years ago, but I remember a discussion about this issue. Theologically, using “sin” instead of “sins” conveys the idea of some universal, collective sin, rather than the idea that we have individual sins. I believe this was the problem raised in the discussion. Am I off base here?

  2. Sandy says:

    ps should be “disposable”, not disposal missalettes :)

  3. Tom says:

    Unfortunately, in England we didn’t have a ‘Sunday after the Ascension’ – even at the EF Mass I attended. In England, the Lord ascended 43 days after the Resurrection, not 40 as the beginning of Acts states. It used to be 40, but the bishops thought that was a bit much.

    So today’s proper Mass gave way to an external celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension. Oh dear, what confusion. Still, I suppose it means the Novena to the Holy Spirit is reduced to six days. Every cloud…..

  4. pelerin says:

    This year was the first time I was able to attend two Ascension Day Masses – one on Ascension Thursday in the EF and one today in the OF. I had forgotten the beautiful custom of the extinguishing of the Paschal candle after the Gospel in the EF and was reminded of the first time I witnessed this.

    It was strange to return today and see the Paschal candle relit and notice that it remained lit for the duration of Mass in the OF. I wonder why the custom was dropped in the OF. It had such significance.

    Incidentally now that we have a new Archbishop in England, there is an on line petition to ask that we may see the return of the Feasts of Epiphany, the Ascension and Corpus Christi to their rightful days.

  5. Robert says:


    Our pastor mentioned the old practice of extinguishing the Easter candle in his homily today. He said that we leave it lit now until (through? hard to hear him sometimes over my kids) Pentecost because now we realize that Jesus is still with us. I wanted to ask him what the significance is of extinguishing it at the end of Pentecost now but it wouldn’t do much good at my parish. His homilies are just a string of platitudes most weeks – I was amazed he even mentioned the “old” way of doing things. (Of course, he did it by giving the impression of “thank goodness we don’t have to do it that way anymore.”)

  6. Immaculatae says:

    Thank you,FrZ. My Wanderer subscription ran out :(

  7. Regina says:

    I hope we are worthy of that divine sense of humanity. Thank God for the hope he promises all of us.

    “Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune–without the words,
    And never stops at all,….” E. Dickinson