Acts 1: 1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Always present

St. Augustine wrote: “Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with Him.”  Because Jesus ascended into heaven, we do not have to get on Zoom or Skype every time we want to speak with him.  There is no need to look to Galilee or Jerusalem, and to stare at the clouds.  When our hearts rise up toward Jesus in communal and individual prayer and in works of mercy, he is there among us. Heaven is where the heart is.

In a similar vein, St. Ignatius advised young Jesuits in studies: “For his Divine Majesty truly is in everything by his presence, power, and essence. This kind of meditation—finding God our Lord in everything—is easier than lifting ourselves up and laboriously making ourselves present to more abstracted divine realities.”

Take 10-15 minutes once or twice a day to lift up your heart and be present to the One who is always and everywhere present.

—Fr. Quang D. Tran, SJ, is a Jesuit of the Central and Southern Province.  He is currently a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Boston College

 

Prayer

Close your eyes my son
And bow your head down
There is not a time or place
That I am not around
If you won’t find heaven
But listen to me there
You won’t find it looking out
You must look within
Heaven is where the heart is…

—Excerpt of lyrics from “Heaven is Where the Heart Is” by Victor Wooten