Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1–11
Optional: Luke 24:50–52
Context: The passage below from the Acts of the Apostles begins with Jesus’ instruction to the disciples to remain in Jerusalem and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which was the promise of the Father. So they waited for forty days.
On the fortieth day, Jesus does appear to the remaining eleven Apostles and instructs them to go forth to preach to the ends of the earth. He promises that the Holy Spirit will soon come to them so that they can fulfill their role of being witnesses to Christ. Properly speaking, a “witness” is a martyr. Each one of these Apostles, in their own way, will share in this martyrdom.
Jesus then goes to the Mount of Olivet with the Apostles, and He is taken up to Heaven. As He ascends, two angels speak to the Apostles. They are told that Jesus will return one day, and then they all depart.
Ignatius does not include a meditation on Pentecost, the actual coming of the Holy Spirit, but rather ends his scriptural meditations here. Perhaps he does that, in part, because Ignatius’ focus in these meditations is the life of Christ our Lord. Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, is the next step in the life of the Church and that of all Christians.
Use this meditation to especially ponder the call you have also received to be a witness to Christ. You are called to hold nothing back, to give all for Christ and the sake of the Gospel. The perfect fulfillment of the will of God is not only to love God but also to love others. And there is no better way to love others than to share with them the Gospel and the glory of the risen Christ.
Reflection: Prayerfully ponder Acts 1:1–12 (Optional: Luke 24:50–52) using the methods of meditation and contemplation with which you have become familiar.
Optional Points to Ponder:
- They were given a commission.
- They were promised supernatural power with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
- They were called to be witnesses, martyrs.
- Martyrdom is considered the seedbed of the fruitfulness of the Church. This is a great paradox.
- Ponder the actual ascent of Christ.
- Why did He ascend in bodily form?
- Consider the promise that He will return.
- Imagine that final return, the day of Judgment.
- Consider your mission to prepare.
Featured Image: L’Ascension, Paul Gustave Doré
Introduction to the Meditations for the Easter Season
- Resurrection of Jesus and First Apparition
- Second Apparition
- Third Apparition
- Fourth Apparition
- Fifth Apparition
- Sixth Apparition
- Seventh Apparition
- Eighth Apparition
- Ninth Apparition
- Additional Apparitions
- Ascension of Jesus
- Contemplation to Attain Divine Love