As Catholics around the world gather to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, we take a moment to reflect on the significance of this important event in the life of Jesus Christ and the significance for His Church. For the Norbertines at Daylesford Abbey, today’s feast has a special significance. We at Daylesford Abbey, a Norbertine Community, have a unique perspective given connection between the Ascension, the Norbertine order, and the call to our Catholic vocation.
The Feast of the Ascensions
The Feast of the Ascension marks the moment when Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, ascended into heaven, completing His earthly mission. It is a joyful and transformative event that emphasizes Jesus’ divine nature, His victory over death, and His eternal presence with His followers. This feast is celebrated forty days after Easter Sunday, symbolizing the period of time Jesus spent with His disciples before ascending to the Father.
Located in Paoli, Pennsylvania, the Norbertine Community at Daylesford Abbey is a spiritual haven rooted in the traditions of the Norbertine order. The Norbertines, also known as the Order of Prémontré, follow the teachings of Saint Norbert of Xanten, who founded the order over 900 years ago! Norbertine life centers on the concept of communio. We embrace the communal life, centered on prayer, contemplation, and service to the Church and the world.
The Ascension and Norbertine Spirituality
The Feast of the Ascension holds a special significance within the Norbertine tradition. Norbertines view the Ascension not only as an extraordinary event but also as an invitation for personal transformation and spiritual growth. It serves as a reminder that, just as Jesus ascended to heaven, we too are called to “seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1) and strive for union with God.
Norbertine spirituality emphasizes the importance of community life, characterized by shared prayer, common table fellowship, and mutual support. By embracing the Ascension’s message, Norbertines aspire to uplift one another and extend the love of Christ to all they encounter. Their dedication to the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, fosters a deep sense of spiritual communion, allowing them to live out the Ascension’s call to discipleship and evangelization.
The Catholic Vocation and the Ascension
The Feast of the Ascension serves as a poignant reminder of the Catholic vocation’s universal call to all the faithful. As Jesus ascended into heaven, He entrusted His mission to His disciples, commissioning them to go forth and proclaim the Gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:19). This commissioning, known as the Great Commission, extends to every Catholic, inviting them to actively participate in the Church’s mission of spreading Christ’s love and transforming the world.
The Ascension challenges us to embrace our own vocation and discern how we can contribute to the building of God’s kingdom. Whether it be through ordained ministry, religious life, marriage, or singlehood, the Ascension reminds us that each vocation is a unique opportunity to manifest God’s love in the world. It is a call to live with purpose, hope, and a deep sense of responsibility.
In a particular way the Feast of the Ascension is a call for men to consider a vocation as a Norbertine. Abbot Domenic Rossi of Daylesford Abbey notes that men who, “love God so much that they want to give themselves entirely” to His church should consider a life as a Norbertine.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, we are reminded of the transformative power of this event and its significance within the Norbertine tradition. Daylesford Abbey, as a vibrant Norbertine community, exemplifies the Ascension’s call to communal living, prayerful reflection, and service to others. Moreover, the Ascension challenges all Catholics to discern their vocation and actively participate in the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel.