June 2024

Dear Beloved in the Lord,

Christ is Risen!

We celebrate our own parish Feast day this month! The Feast of the Holy Ascension of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ! Here are some words from our Holy Father John of Kronstadt sharing with us why our Lord ascended:

“…The Lord ascended from us to heaven in order to shine like the sun on all of us from the height of heaven with His grace. As the sun hiding in the west produces the evening darkness throughout the celestial empire, and when it rises to the heights, the darkness flees from the entire celestial empire, and the sun's rays illuminate the universe with wondrous light, so our spiritual Sun, Christ, while He lived on earth, as if in the west, did not show His luminous divinity to people. Until then, over all the earth was the darkness of ignorance of God’s essence; and after He shone forth from His tomb He ascended to heaven, then the lightning of His divinity illuminated the universe, His name became glorious from the east to the west, over all the earth, and the whole universe was enlightened by the knowledge of God.

…The Lord ascended from us to heaven in order to arrange for us a path to heaven, and to be our Leader in the mountainous countries. There was no path to heaven for man until the very ascension of the Lord to heaven; And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven, says the Lord (Jn. 3:13). He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. (Eph. 4:10). So, before this, no one could ascend to heaven, even if he were righteous and holy; and when our Lord, clothed in human nature, ascended to heaven, the way to heaven was arranged for the whole human race, and the souls of the holy forefathers and prophets, led out of hell, followed Christ by that way. Apostles, saints, martyrs, confessors, ascend to them; worthy righteous people who follow Christ's footsteps ascend to them even now. Now everyone knows the way to heaven. Just don’t you be lazy to ascend, Christians!

…Finally, the Lord ascended from us to heaven in order to prepare for us a place in heaven where we will live forever and reign with Him, our Lord. So He Himself says: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (Jn. 14:2–3). What a joyful reason for the Ascension! The Lord ascended from us to heaven to prepare a place in heaven for all the righteous and pious people, as well as for us sinners, if we turn and repent from the bottom of our hearts. Where the place is for the Apostle Peter, who rejected the Lord and wept bitterly about it afterwards; where the harlot is, who wept at His feet, where the prodigal son is, where the publican is, where the robber is, there also will be a place for us; only we must weep bitterly over our sins. We will fall at His feet with repentance like Peter and like the harlot; as the publican we will be converted. Let us be crucified with Him, like the good thief. Let us repent, and we will be saved.

Let us all rejoice in the Ascension of our Lord and Savior. Amen”