01 June 2011

Vigil of the Ascension

The Lord, the Only-begotten and coeternal with the Father, could in the form of a servant and out of the form of a servant, if such were needful, pray in silence; but in this other way He wished to show Himself as One Who prayed to the Father, that He might remember that He was still our Teacher. Accordingly, the prayer which He offered for us, He made also known to us; seeing that it is not only the delivering of discourses to them by so great a Master, but also the praying for them to the Father, that is a means of edification to disciples. And if so to those who were present to hear what was said, it is certainly so also to us who were to have the reading of it when written.

Wherefore in saying this, Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, He showed that all time, and every occasion when He did anything or suffered anything to be done, were arranged by Him Who was subject to no time: since those things, which were individually future in point of time, have their efficient causes in the Wisdom of God, wherein there are no distinctions of time. Let it not, then, be supposed that this hour came through any urgency of fate, but rather by the divine appointment. It was no necessary law of the heavenly bodies that tied to its time the Passion of Christ; for we may well shrink from the thought that the stars should compel their own Maker to die.

The glorification of the Son by the Father is understood by some to consist in this: that He spared Him not, but delivered Him up for us all. But if we say that He was glorified by His Passion, how much more was He so by His Resurrection? For in His passion our attention is directed more to His humility than to His glory, in accordance with the testimony of the apostle, who says, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross: and then he goes on to say of His glorification: Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. This is the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ: that took its commencement from His resurrection.

~ Saint Augustine ~