Skip to comments.The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas 6th ART He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand..
Posted on 02/04/2009 9:01:27 AM PST by GonzoII
Besides the resurrection of Christ, we must also believe in His ascension; for He ascended into heaven on the fortieth day. Hence, the Creed says: "He ascended into heaven." Concerning this we ought to observe three things, viz., that it was sublime, reasonable, and beneficial.
THE SUBLIMITY OF THE ASCENSION
It was certainly sublime that Christ ascended into heaven. This is expounded in three ways. Firstly, He ascended above the physical heaven: "He . . . ascended above all the heavens." Secondly, He ascended above all the spiritual heavens, i.e., spiritual natures: "Raising [Jesus] up from the dead and setting Him on His right hand in the heavenly places. Above all principality and power and virtue and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. And He hath subjected all things under His feet." Thirdly, He ascended up to the very throne of the Father: "Lo, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven. And He came even to the Ancient of days." "And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God." Now, it is not to be taken in the
literal sense, but figuratively, that Christ is at the right hand of God. Inasmuch as Christ is God, He is said to sit at the right hand of the Father, that is, in equality with the Father; and as Christ is man, He sits at the right hand of the Father, that is, in a more preferable place. The devil once feigned to do this: "I will ascend above the height of the clouds. I will be like the Most High." But Christ alone succeeded in this, and so it is said: "He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father." "The Lord said to my Lord: Sit Thou at My right hand."
THE REASONABLENESS OF THE ASCENSION
The Ascension of Christ into heaven is in accord with reason: (1) because heaven was due to Christ by His very nature. It is natural for one to return to that place from whence he takes his origin. The beginning of Christ is from God, who is above all things: "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and I go to the Father." 9 "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven." 9 The just ascend into heaven, but not in the manner that Christ ascended, i.e., by His own power; for they are taken up by Christ: "Draw me, we will run after Thee." Or, indeed, we can say that no man but Christ has ascended into heaven, because the just do not ascend except in so far as they are the members of Christ who is the head of the Church. "Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together."
(2) Heaven is due to Christ because of His victory. For He was sent into the world to combat the devil, and He did overcome him. Therefore, Christ deserved to be exalted above all things: "I also have overcome and am set down with My Father in His throne."
(3) The Ascension is reasonable because of the humility of Christ. There never was humility so great as that of Christ, who, although He was God, yet wished to become man; and although He was the Lord, yet wished to take the form of a servant, and, as St. Paul says: "He was made obedient unto death," and descended even into hell. For this He deserved to be exalted even to heaven and to the throne of God, for humility leads to exaltation: "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." "He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens."
THE BENEFITS OF THE ASCENSION
The Ascension of Christ was very beneficial for us. This is seen three ways. Firstly, as our Leader, because He ascended in order to lead us; for we had lost the way, but He has shown it to us. "For He shall go up that shall open the way before them, and thus we may be made certain of possessing the heavenly kingdom: "I go to prepare a place for you." Secondly, that He might draw our hearts to Himself: "For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart so." Thirdly, to let us withdraw from worldly things: "Therefore, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth."
(For "Questions for Discussion" see Chapter 6.)
1. Eph., iv. 10.
2. "Ibid.," i. 20-22
3. Dan., vii. 13.
4. Mark, xvi. 19.
5. "In these words we observe a figure of speech, that is, the changing of a word from its literal to a figurative meaning, something which is not infrequent in the Scriptures: for when accommodating its language to human ideas, it attributes human affections and human members to God, who is pure spirit and can admit of nothing corporeal. For, just as among men, he who sits at the right hand is considered to occupy the most honored place: so, transferring the idea to heavenly things to express the glory which Christ as Man enjoys above all others, we say that He sits at the right hand of His Eternal Father. Now, this does not mean actual position and figure of body, but declares the fixed and permanent possession of royal and supreme power and glory which Christ received from the Father" ("Roman Catechism," Sixth Article, 3).
6. Isa., xiv. 13-14.
7. Ps. cix. 1.
8. John, xvi. 28.
9. "lbid.," iii. 13.
10. "He ascended by His own power, not by the power of another as did Elias, who was taken up into heaven in a fiery chariot (IV Kings, ii. 1); or as the prophet Habacuc (Dan., xiv. 35); or Philip, the deacon. who was borne through the air by the divine power and traversed the distant regions of the earth (Acts, viii. 39). Neither did He ascend into heaven solely by the exercise of His supreme power as God. but also, by virtue of the power which He possessed as Man; although human power alone was insufficient to raise Him from the dead, yet the virtue with which the blessed soul of Christ was endowed, was capable of moving the body as it pleased, and His body, now glorified, readily obeyed the soul that moved it" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 2).
11. Cant., i. 3.
12. Matt., xxiv. 28.
13. Apoc., iii. 21.
14. Phil., ii. 8.
15. Luke, xiv. 11.
16. Eph., iv. 10.
17. Mich., ii. 13.
18. John, xiv. 2.
19. Matt., vi. 21.
20. Col., iii. 1.
Copyright (c) 1996 by James Akin. All Rights Reserved.
Not that these are the same things, not at all, but as things which resonate with one another.
I'm going to Mass right now so I'll take a look at your reply mañana...
I mean that when "Athanasius" describes the oneness in the Person of the Son AND the union of the two natures as "the taking up of Manhood into God", just by the "upness" of it, there is kind of a, what, a foreshadowing of the Ascension.
Temporally and in our liturgical language we say, "You have gone up on high and taken captivity captive," about the Ascension. But extra-temporally, eternally in that Manhood of Christ is elevated, "taken up" into God, it is as though, speaking very loosely, "before there was any talk of God 'coming down' to earth, God has 'already' taken manhood up into Himself. So if Manhood was taken up, could mankind be far behind?"
More Generally we can see every step of the sacred history of redemption as a kind of "coming true". For example, in the "Apostolic Constitutions" there is a wonderful, prototypical prayer over the gift. It describes Creation as salvific: dry land so we could stand somewhere, light so we could see, food so we wouldn't starve.
And then Adam and Eve are clothed; Cain is protected; Noah is saved from the flood, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, blah, blah. But "all along" there was the "coming true" of the taking of the Manhood into God, which again "comes true" in the Ascension.
One more try - in a time crunch here: At first glance the Ascension is just about IHS. So, He sitteth at the right hand of the Father. Well, that's nice for Him, isn't it?
But it is also the coming true of our salvation, of the Incarnation, of everything God ever meant and intended. In IHS, we too sit at the right hand of the Father. The Ascension is for us.
Is that any less opaque?
" Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων·
φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο.
Τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα."
Please excuse the Greek, but the actual words are important. Kατελθόντα means came down or descended; σαρκωθέντα is a wonderfully graphic term meaning "was enfleshed" and of course ἐνανθρωπήσαντα means "made man". And it all refers to the Second "Person" of the Trinity "as the Logos", not as the enfleshed Christ. MD, that's not what the Athanasian Creed says at all. The former is dogma, the latter is, well I'm not quite sure what it is or what it is supposed to accomplish.
The bad news is that my academic time is booked until a talk I'm spozed to give on 3/25. But I can sort of use this question as procrastination from researching and writing "Catholic Social Teaching in Forty Minutes".
We hope to be taken up too after Christ; got it.
Yeah. As if sorta kinda, the Resurrection is the “coming true” of all the promises before it, and the Ascension is the “coming true” of the Resurrection, and [skip some steps] the Assumption is the “coming true” of the Ascension ... and so on until it reaches us.
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