by Julia C., ISP Boston 

reflecting with scripture from the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Acts 1:1-11.

This weekend in some dioceses, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. For the past 40 days we have traveled within scriptures that illustrate that Christ was there. Through the heartache and joy of the first seeker and proclaimer, Mary, and her synodal sisters; on the dusty road to Emmaus, with two men caught up in their thoughts; with crowds multiplying like wildfire; on mountains; in ancient cities – he was there. And now, he is gone.

Up in the air

While he was going 

and they were gazing up toward heaven, 

suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 

– Acts 1.10


It was not what we had hoped for,
that this moment of uplifting victory—
Jesus ascending to the throne of heaven—
would drip with grief. But we’d lost him.
In the wake of the swirling glory
we stood on the windswept hill
looking up vacantly into the air
as at a graveside, in silent discomfort,
hollowed out by sorrow at his departure,
heaven’s theft, the cloud’s cruel erasure.

It took angels to nudge us awake,
to begin to think not of what used to be
but what was possible.

  • Steve Garmnaas-Holmes

To those of us that do not have mothers to celebrate this Mother’s Day, the words of “departure,” of “Ascension,” figure greatly. What can I take from that life long experience of love, guidance, and wisdom?  How can I let it transform me?  Then coupled with faith, how can I share that light with others?  The Ascension reminds us of a transcendent God that we can rely on, that is always near. It beckons us to consider the invitation of possibilities.

God places insistence on community.  Nowhere is that more present than on an ISP retreat or in an hour-long spiritual reflection. Once a week I listen and pray with women who live on the streets or in frightening shelter situations. They come to share their hopes, rarely their fears, and have a stunning reliance on their faith. “I used to be so angry at God,” one woman told me. “Then I decided to forgive him and wondered: What if God is inviting me to live out the Passion of his Son.” The story of God is a triune one. When we show compassion; when we fight for inclusiveness, respect, and understanding; when we listen; we make the mystery present in our world.

Reflection Questions: How is your relationship with a mother figure a spiritual resource? What relationships in your life lead you to reconciliation, hope, and compassion?

Julia C. is a facilitator with Boston ISP. She serves on the Social Justice Committee for the Archdiocese of Boston and is Coordinator of the Healing & Restoration Ministry at Boston’s Basilica OLPH. “When I go to heaven I am going to put good people around you.” – Catherine C. (1924-2017) Happy Mothers Day, Mo Mháthair!