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As*cen"sion, n. Etym: [F. ascension, L. ascensio, fr. ascendere. See Ascend.]
1. The act of ascending; a rising; ascent.
2. Specifically: The visible ascent of our Savior on the fortieth day after His Resurrection. (Acts i. 9.) Also, Ascension Day.
3. An ascending or arising, as in distillation; also that which
arises, as from distillation.
Ascension Day, the Thursday but one before Whitsuntide, the day on which commemorated our Savior's ascension into heaven after His Resurrection; -- called also Holy Thursday.
Vaporous ascensions from the stomach. Sir T. Browne.
-- Right ascension (Astron.), that degree of the equinoctial, counted from the beginning of Aries, which rises with a star, or other celestial body, in a right sphere; or the arc of the equator intercepted between the first point of Aries and that point of the equator that comes to the meridian with the star; -- expressed either in degrees or in time.
-- Oblique ascension (Astron.), an arc of the equator, intercepted between the first point of Aries and that point of the equator which rises together with a star, in an oblique sphere; or the arc of the equator intercepted between the first point of Aries and that point of the equator that comes to the horizon with a star. It is little used in modern astronomy.
----excerpt from Lives of the Saints, 1894
by Alban Butler, Benziger Brothers edition, 1894
THE mystery which the Church honors on this day is at the same time that of the triumph of Jesus Christ and the hallowed hope of His disciples. The Savior, after having accomplished His mission on earth, ascends to heaven to put His manhood in possession of the glory due to it, and to prepare for us an abiding-place. He ascends thither as our King, Liberator, Chief, and Mediator: our King, because He has purchased us at the cost of His blood; our Liberator, because He has conquered death and sin, and has ransomed us from the thraldom of Satan; our Chief, because He wishes that we should follow in His footsteps, and that we should be where He is, even as He has Himself declared; our Mediator, because we can have access to the Father only through Him. He ascends thither as our High Priest, in order to offer unceasingly to God the blood which He has shed for us in His character of man, and to obtain for us through the merits of His sacrifice the remission of our sins.
Let us, then, by means of faith, follow Him in His Ascension to heaven, and abide there henceforth in heart and spirit. Let us remember that heaven is wholly ours, as our inheritance; and, amid the temptations and miseries of this life, let us think often of this home of peace, of glory, and of bliss eternal.
We must not flatter ourselves, however, that without earnest efforts on our part we shall have any share in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. There are many mansions in the house of our heavenly Father, but there are not many roads leading thither. Jesus Christ has traced out for us the way of humiliation and suffering, and it is the only one that conducts to eternal peace. If the hardships of the journey and the sight of our own weakness strike us with dread, we should gather energy by leaning on the promises of the God-man. He will be with us even unto the end, and if we love Him all will become easy.
Reflection.— Let us cherish hope: "Christ being come, a High Priest of the good things to come, hath entered into the Holy of Holies, by His own blood having obtained eternal redemption."
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