A Mindful Celebration of Ascension Day

Today is the commemoration of Ascension Day, when Jesus rose up through the clouds and into heaven. Here’s a few ideas for celebrating the day and preparing for Pentecost on May 31.

Pray for outreach and missionaries. Before Jesus in physical form left the planet, he asked his disciples to spread the word about his willingness to atone for people’s sins so they could be in the presence of the Holy God when they died.

Pack a picnic. Go outside to enjoy the sky and the clouds. If it’s pouring down rain, try it on the weekend.

Begin nightly contemplations or family discussion on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s a good way to prepare for Pentecost. The gifts are:

  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel
  • Fortitude
  • Knowledge
  • Piety
  • Fear of God
  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Commemorate the Holocaust

I remember watching filmstrips about the liberation of the concentration camps in Europe in elementary school in the early and mid-1960s. I thought that the Holocaust happened very long ago among heathen peoples. Looking back, I know what I saw had happened only a decade or so in the past. The heathens thought they were civilized, even superior, people.

Today is Yom HaShoah, the time to remember the Holocaust. It’s time for me to remember how many people who thought they were good Christians participated … actively or passively … in it. As the eyewitnesses leave this Earth, we must all remember and fight those who want to deny reality.

O God, we are conscious that many centuries of blindness have blinded our eyes so that we no longer see the beauty of your chosen people, nor recognize in their faces the features of our privileged brothers and sisters.

We realize that the mark of Cain stands upon our foreheads.

Across the centuries our brother Abel has lain in blood which we drew or which we caused to be shed by forgetting your love.

Forgive us for the curse we falsely attached to their name as Jews.

Forgive us for crucifying you a second time in their flesh.

God of Abraham and of Moses, we pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear your world.

As you have made them your own, so make them continue to grow in love of your name and in faithfulness to your covenant.

You are our God, living and reigning, for ever and ever. Amen

Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers