[the Western Church is still in Ascensiontide; today Ascensiontide begins for our sisters and brothers in the Eastern Church. Some great words for both:]
O blessed Lord Jesus, how gloriously Thy passion hath ended!
What a blessed and sudden transformation is here!
Ah, in what awful anguish I saw Thee upon Mount Calvary,
and now in what glory I behold Thee upon Mount Olivet!
There Thou didst suffer alone;
here Thou art attended by a vast multitude of the angelic hosts;
There Thou didst ascend to the cross;
here Thou dost ascend in a cloud to heaven;
There Thou wast crucified between two thieves;
here Thou dost exult among angelic choirs;
There Thou wast nailed to the cross as a condemned criminal;
here, free from all condemnation, Thou art the deliverer of those condemned to eternal death;
There Thou didst bleed and die;
here Thou dost rejoice and triumph.
Christ is our glorious head; we are the members of His body; rejoice thou and shout for joy, O faithful soul, in the ascension to heaven of thy Head. The glory of the Head is the glory also of the members. Where our flesh reigns there let us believe that we too shall reign. Where our blood rules, there let us hope that we too shall be glorious; though our sins would forbid this, yet our participation in His holy nature makes it possible. Where the Head is there shall also the other members of the body be; Christ, our Head, hath gone into the heavens, hence the other members of the body with good reason hope to enter heaven, and not only so, but even now already have a possession in heaven. Christ came from heaven for our redemption; He returns thither for our glorification. He was born in the flesh for us, He suffered for us, and therefore He ascended for us. The passion of Christ wins our love; the resurrection of Christ strengthens our faith; the ascension of Christ confirms our hope.
We ought, however, to follow our heavenly Bridegroom not only in ardent desires, but also in good works. Into the celestial city shall enter nothing that defileth, in token of which angels appeared at Christ's ascension as coming from the heavenly Jerusalem and clothed in white apparel, as tokens of innocence and purity.
Pride cannot ascend to heaven with the great Master of humility;
Nor evil with the Author of all goodness;
Nor discord with the Prince of Peace;
Nor lust and wantonness with the Son of the Virgin;
Nor vice with the Parent of all virtue;
Nor sin with the Holy One,
Nor our sinful infirmity with the Great Physician.
Does any one desire to behold God in the future life; let him live worthily in the sight of God in this life.
Does anyone hope for the blessedness of heaven by and by; let him love not the world now.
O Bessed Lord Jesus, draw our hearts after Thee, we beseech Thee!