The Ascension of Jesus
Fruit of the Mystery: Hope & Desire for Heaven
In Heaven One Finds Peace and Eternal Happiness
by Michelle Nott
I took a deep breath in and sighed. I’d been dreading this moment for a while now. My husband received orders to complete military training in a different state for seven months and due to difficult circumstances, we were not able to move with him. I gave my husband a hug and asked him,
“Do you have to go?”
He sighed, “Yes, I do.”
We shared one more hug goodbye and then he got into the car, smiled for a picture, and said, “I’ll see you in seven months.” My heart sunk at those words, but I managed to smile at him and wave goodbye as he drove away.
Immediately, I felt an impending sense of doom as I made my way back into the house. Seven months felt like an eternity to manage the house and all the kids by myself. The first few days dragged on and were rough. The next few weeks were a challenge. We dealt with big snow falls (one of which was twelve inches⸺and yes, I had to shovel the driveway), preschool drop off and pick up, kids locking themselves in the bathroom, and my ongoing battle with postpartum depression.
But slowly, we got into a routine. It never became easy, but it became our new normal. And as the months went by, the tunnel didn’t seem so dark anymore, and I caught a glimpse of the light at the end of it.
I wonder if an impending sense of doom is what the apostles felt during the Ascension? Jesus had spent years with them working side by side and teaching them about God and how to get to Heaven. He was more than just their teacher; he was their family. And now, he was returning to Heaven and leaving them on Earth to fulfill His mission.
I imagine that they were scared and confused and if they were anything like me when my husband left, they were thinking, “Please do not leave me! I cannot do this without you.” And like me, to cope with their grief and fear, they were hiding out, trying to survive and comprehend what they were supposed to do in this next period of their lives.
But then the Holy Spirit came down on them and gave them the courage they needed to continue God’s mission. Even though Jesus returned body and soul to Heaven, He did not abandon them. He knew that they were ready to take on this next phase of life without Him, but always stayed by their side and helped them, as it says in Mark 16:19-20: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.”
God wants the same for you, too. He wants to give you light in your time of darkness. He wants us all to be in Heaven with Him.Michelle Nott
Finding Hope in the Darkness
When my husband left for his training, I felt hopeless at first. And if I continued to feel that way, it would have made those seven months feel even longer. But after giving myself some time to adjust, ongoing therapy sessions, and help from friends and family, I started feeling hopeful. One of the main things that helped me feel that way was my faith and turning to God when things were difficult.
Jesus did not return to Heaven knowing that the apostles would have an easy and peaceful life. In fact, for most of them it was the opposite. But he left them with the hope of Heaven and being reunited with Him again someday. That hope is what drove them to endure physical and mental suffering trying to spread His message to others so that they too could experience that hope.
One of the beautiful things about the Ascension is that it truly shows God’s love for us. It ends the chapter of history when Jesus walked on the earth (until the Last Judgment) and began the early history of the Church with a Pope. God did not have to save us. He could have looked down at us from Heaven and chose to let us all die. But instead, He saw that we needed a divine intervention, and out of love, sent His son to save us.
God fought for us. He sent Jesus to us to save us and teach us more about Him. And like every parent must do, when the time came, He let go. Jesus ascended to Heaven trusting that all his teachings will spread to new people and knowing that humanity now has a great weapon: hope!
The Powerful Virtue
God gave us a gift by choosing to save us and then leaving when we were ready. By doing this, He gave us the virtue of hope. By allowing the apostles to see Jesus ascend into Heaven, it gave them even more proof that there is more after death, and this world is just temporary. If we do our part and live our faith, we will be reunited with God again in Heaven.
This hope that we received from the Ascension is the virtue that can help when we encounter the difficulties of this world, whether our suffering is physical suffering, mental, or spiritual. It is what helps us in our grief when loved ones die. We have hope that we will be reunited with them in Heaven and that they are standing next to Jesus, watching over us. It is what helps a woman get through the discomforts of pregnancy and pains of labor, knowing that soon she will be holding her baby in her arms.
I can only imagine that hope is what gave Mary the strength to live out the rest of her life on Earth without her Son, until it was her time to be raised to Heaven to be reunited with Him. Mary wants to bring us closer to her son so that we too will be blessed with the virtue of hope and long for Heaven. By praying the Rosary, and reflecting on the Glorious Mysteries, we are reminded of this wonderful act of love God made for us and the blessings we receive from it.
Hope has been an essential part of my life. It has gotten me through some of my most difficult moments. Through my depression, all the suffering I felt made me hope for the peace and joy that Heaven will bring for me. It has gotten me through the long seven months of solo parenting while my husband was completing his training.
God wants the same for you, too. He wants to give you light in your time of darkness. He wants us all to be in Heaven with Him. My hope for you is that in difficult moments, you will turn towards Him, longing for the peace that Heaven brings, and understand that all of this suffering is temporary. It is sanctifying and a way for us to grow closer to God.
For the virtue of hope, let us pray!
In Heaven One finds Peace and Eternal happiness.
About Michelle: Michelle Nott is a stay at home mom with four kids who enjoys family time, crocheting, baking, reading and writing on her blog: Raising Small Things With Great Love.