Ascension Day: Missa “Viri Galilaei”
Station at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Forty days after the Resurrection, Our Lord Jesus Christ, attended by Angels, ascended into Heaven, in the sight of His most holy Mother Mary, His Apostles, and disciples, to the great wonder of them all. He entered into possession of the Kingdom of Heaven which He had gained by His sufferings, and St. Paul declares that God “hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.” “There where the Head has gone, the Body is called to follow!” The liturgical festival of the Ascension, whilst less ancient than that of Pentecost, is one of the oldest of the cycle, was already so universally observed that St. Augustine was able to attribute its institution to the Apostles themselves. At Rome, the Pope, after the night Office was concluded, and after Mass had been celebrated at the altar of St. Peter, was crowned by the cardinals, and towards the sixth hour was accompanied by bishops and clergy to the Lateran.
On this day Jesus was taken up into Heaven; His faithful disciples continued to gaze heavenward. The contemplative vision of Paradise is reserved, however, for those who have already passed into the Church Triumphant. The supreme glorification of the Head who is this day enthroned at the right hand of the Father in Heaven affects the members also, like the precious balsam which, as the psalmist tells us, descended from the head of Aaron on to his flowing beard and on to his gorgeous pontifical vestments. This spiritual unction is the gift of the Holy Ghost, which Christ obtains to-day from Heaven for his Church. Hence the connection between the Ascension and Pentecost is very close, nor can we understand the one without the other.
INTROIT Acts 1:11
Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to Heaven? Alleluia. He shall so come as you have seen Him going up into Heaven, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 44: 2) O clap your hands, all ye nations shout unto God, with the voice of exultation. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Ye men of Galilee…
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God: that we, who believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have ascended on this day into heaven, may also ourselves dwell in mind amid heavenly things. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE Acts 1: 1-11
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the Apostles whom He had chosen, He was taken up: to whom also He showed Himself alive after His Passion by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them and speaking of the Kingdom of God. And eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith He), by My mouth for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. They therefore who were come together asked Him, saying: Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel? But He said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in His own power: but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had said these things while they looked on, He was raised up: and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they were beholding Him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments, who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into Heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. . (Ps. 46: 6). God is ascended with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Alleluia. V. (Ps. 67: 18, 19). The Lord is in Sinai, in the holy place ascending on high He hath led captivity captive. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Mark 16: 14-20
At that time Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and He upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen Him after He was risen again. And He said to them: “Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My Name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.” And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.
With the completion of the Gospel on Ascension Thursday, the Paschal Candle is extinguished.
OFFERTORY Psalm 46: 6
God is ascended with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Alleluia.
Receive, O Lord: the gifts we offer up to Thee, for the glorious Ascension of Thy Son: and mercifully grant that we may be freed from present perils and attain unto everlasting life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
PREFACE For the ASCENSION
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Who, after His Resurrection, appeared openly to all His disciples, and, while they looked on, was taken up into Heaven, that He might grant unto us to be sharers in His own divinity. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNICANTES – INVOCATION OF THE SAINTS IN THE CANON For ASCENSION and the Sunday After
Communicating with, with, and keeping the most holy day on which Thine only-begotten Son our Lord set at the right hand of Thy glory the substance of our, frail human natum, which He had taken to Himself and also reverencing the memory, first, of the glorious, ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. (He joins his hands.) Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
COMMUNION Psalm 67: 33-34
Sing ye to the Lord, Who mounteth above the Heaven of heavens to the East, alleluia.
Grant to us, we beseech Thee: almighty and merciful God, that we may obtain the invisible effects of that which we have shared by communion in visible Mysteries. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.