My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE DIVINE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (June 6th)
By His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos HIEROTHEOS
The theology of the feast of the Holy Ascension cannot remain on a theoretical and mental plane but must go on to practical applications. This means that when we experience in our life Christ's Cross and Passion, what Christ did and suffered for us through the mystery of the Divine Dispensation, then we can also experience the mystery of theology, which is theosis (deification).
In this framework, we can look at the teaching of the Holy Fathers of the Church that in order to experience Christ's Ascension and comprehend the mystery as far as possible, we must keep the Life-Giving Commandments, acquire the deifying virtues, especially humility and agape (love), so that we can endure every tribulation and temptation which comes by reason of our being Christians, but even to have the desire for Martyrdom for the glory of Christ's name (Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite).
Since we are members of the Church in which the whole work of divine dispensation is experienced, we have obligations. As citizens of the incorporeal, we must be far removed from desires of the flesh. As members of the holy humanity and temples of God, we must live in holiness. Since God has granted us the royal house, the Church, instead of hell, we must make our peace with God (Proklos, Archbishop of Constantinople).
It is necessary to practice purity of body and soul. A person must keep the eye of his soul as a watchful guard so that when the robber devil comes to pollute him with bodily sins, he will be ready to say: "I am not going to turn traitor to the lord's possession" (Saint Epiphanios). That is to say, I will not betray the property which belongs to the Lord Christ.
After Christ's Disciples had passed through all the trials, the purification, that experience of the Cross, then they remained in the Upper Room and in this way received the Holy Spirit. And we, when we worship Christ, must return to Jerusalem, which means peace. We must make peace with ourselves and others. And not only should Jerusalem, but we should wait in the Upper Room, which is our nous, where we should be in constant prayer and take care to purify ourselves from passions and base thoughts. In this way, we shall attain the visitation of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) and worship in Truth the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Saint Gregory Palamas).
Christ's Ascension is celebrated in hymns and spiritual chants, but at the same time in action and vision of God, which means with purity and illumination of the nous. Within this struggle and illumination, the person rejoices at the great meaning and very deep content of the feast. Then he can rejoice exceedingly over this feast o of the Lord.
This joy, which is not a sentiment, but comes from the experience of the dispensation and the theology, has two basic causes. The first is that by His Ascension "to the place where he was before", Christ showed that He was not merely a man or the son of Joseph the carpenter, but the Son of God (Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite). And the second is that the joy comes from the lifting up and ascent of our nature (Saint Gregory Palamass). This of course is also closely connected with the ascension of every person who believes and is joined to Christ. Thus the Head of our body is on the throne of God. So also our limbs can awaken from the sleep of sin and be deified (theosis).
Christ's Ascension is the jewel of all the Feasts of the Lord, the completion of all that Christ did for us, through the work of the Dispensation. This consummate feast invites us to spiritual perfection and fullness, to participate in Christ's Ascension and the experience our own ascension. (Source: The Feasts of the Lord)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Divine Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God