First, this was the first time the Second Person of the Holy Trinity returned to Heaven since his Incarnation. A completely new thing took place in Heaven; at the Ascension the angels worship human nature in Jesus Christ for the first time.
Human nature was created lower than angel nature; and because of the fall, there were no human bodies in Heaven before Jesus ascended; that is, not only were we created lower, but through sin we fell from the place that we did have. Now, because of the Incarnation and Passion, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity has a physical, human body in Heaven. This was a true feat.
Second, even more remarkable is that we have a share in the Ascension of Jesus. Christ ascending into Heaven in his glorified human body applies to all of the redeemed, in that we through Christ are brought back to the throne of God, back to what we were created for. When we reflect on the Ascension, we should remember that this is the glory that we are meant for; in God’s mercy he has restored us to Himself through His Son.
The destiny that God has planned for us, which is a stunning and remarkable display of his mercy and love, is an eternal reality that should inform our daily actions for the better.
Third, Ascension Thursday is closely connected with Pentecost. After Jesus ascended, the disciples were instructed to go to Jerusalem and wait. They, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, waited and prayed for a period of nine days until the Holy Spirit was poured out on them at Pentecost.
In fact, Jesus told his disciples that unless he ascended the Holy Spirit would not come. This period of nine days was the Church’s first novena, and the biblical precedent for all the various novenas that believers pray today. This period of nine days of prayer to the Holy Spirit is something that we can enter into again.
Pray for nine consecutive days
Jesus, I honor You on the feast of Your Ascension into Heaven. I rejoice with all my heart at the glory into which You entered to reign as King of Heaven and Earth. When the struggle of this life is over, give me the grace to share Your joy and triumph in Heaven for all eternity.
I believe that You entered into Your glorious Kingdom to prepare a place for me, for You promised to come again to take me to Yourself. Grant that I may seek only the joys of Your friendship and love, so that I may deserve to be united with You in Heaven.
In the hour of my own homecoming, when I appear before Your Father to give an account of my life on Earth, have mercy on me.
Jesus, in Your love for me You have brought me from evil to good and from misery to happiness. Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. May Your humanity give me courage in my weakness and free me from my sins.
Through Your grace, give me the courage of perseverance for You have called and justified me by faith. May I hold fast to the life You have given me and come to the eternal gifts You promised.
You love me, dear Jesus. Help me to love You in return. I ask You to grant this special favor:
(Mention your request).
By Your unceasing care, guide my steps toward the life of glory You have prepared for those who love You. Make me grow in holiness and thank You by a life of faithful service.