Seated at the Right Hand of the Father; In Tabernacles Throughout the World
By Gretchen Erlichman
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” ~Matt. 28:20.
In His Ascension, Christ rose from the earth into Heaven and is “seated at the right hand of the Father.” (Creed) Yet, although Christ’s humanity left the earth to assume His dwelling in the Heavenly Domain, He still remains with us here on earth in His Presence in the Eucharist. Even after condescending to our humanity, dying for us, and inviting us to be heirs to the Heavenly Kingdom, He continues to pour out His love to us by remaining with us in the Blessed Sacrament. Christ is present with us, here and now, in tabernacles throughout the world. What an indescribably beautiful gift of Love!
It is in Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist by which He physically remains “with us always” (Matt. 28:30) on earth, until we enter into the radiance of His glory in the Beatific Vision. It is through the Eucharist that we intimately enter into this relationship with Him now and receive a glimpse of the joys to come in eternal life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist, the pledge of glory with Him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with His Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.” (CCC 1419)
It is through the Eucharist that we are united to Christ in Heaven because the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist is wholly and entirely the same Body and Blood of Christ that is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Christ is with us “always” through the Eucharist because of this beautiful and ineffable offering of Himself. In the Tertia Pars of the Summa, St. Thomas says: “This sacrament has threefold significance. One with regard to the past, inasmuch as it is commemorative of our Lord’s Passion, which was a true sacrifice…With regard to the present it has another meaning, namely that the Ecclesiastical unity, in which men are aggregated through this Sacrament; and in this respect it is called ‘Communion’…’because we communicate with Christ through it’…With regard to the future it has a third meaning, inasmuch as this sacrament foreshadows the Divine fruition, which shall come to pass in Heaven.” (ST III Q.73 Art.4)
Indeed, in His Ascension, Christ rose up from the earth to take His place on the Heavenly throne. Yet, He remains with us, whole and entire, in the Blessed Sacrament. He continues to fill our souls with His goodness and light and to satiate our hunger and thirst for His Presence. In the Eucharist, Christ is present with us, here and now, ever comforting our souls with His words of love: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)
So Follows the Body
By Phillip Baker
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many are one body, so also Christ.” ~1 Cor. 12:12.
“It is better for you that I go” (Jn. 16:7). This is a hard saying of Our Lord! We don’t like times of separation from friends and family. Even if we know we’ll see them again, the separation is difficult. How, then, can we believe that it is better for us that Our Lord leaves us? He says this to His Apostles during the Last Supper, warning them of His impending Passion, Resurrection, and, specifically, His Ascension. He will be taken beyond their sight and the Apostles will no longer see Him in the way they have. But still, it’s better that He goes, for then He can send the Holy Spirit upon them. And, by His gift of the Holy Spirit, sent upon His Church only after His Ascension, we are incorporated into – made into the Body of – Jesus Christ Himself that is the Church.
St. Augustine teaches forcefully about the unity of the Body: as the body and the head are one, so, too the ever-living Body of Christ is one. Christ the Head is united to His Body the Church in an indivisible unity. This is true, even as Christ is in Heaven. Therefore, we even now share somewhat in the glory of Heaven by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in us. This relationship continues so long as we do not ex-corporate ourselves from the Body of Christ by grave sin. Therefore, St. Augustine says “just as He remained with us even after His Ascension, so we too are already in Heaven with Him, even though what is promised has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.” Christ, body and soul, has ascended into Heaven; therefore, we, His Body, hope to follow where our Head has gone.
God gives us the gifts and graces necessary so that we might endure with Him and “attain to… mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4:13). We are not yet perfect, so we do not yet enjoy a full share in Divine Life. However, if we endure with Him, we shall receive that inheritance in full. As members of His Body, grace upon grace is poured out upon us so that we might be perfected and follow to where our Head has ascended. The hope of being with Him in Heaven is guaranteed and that glory is now anticipated by the gift of His Holy Spirit in us. It is this Spirit Who makes us one with Jesus, the same Spirit sent when Christ “ascended on high… (and) gave gifts to men” (Eph 4:8). Therefore it is better for us that He goes, for He sends His greatest gift, His Spirit, on us as He goes. And, as He, our Head, left to prepare a place for us, so He will come back again and take us to Himself, so that where He is we also may be (cf. Jn. 14:3).
COME PRAY WITH US!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!
(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)
Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact
Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact