the ascension of our lord at daylesford abbeyThose of us who are old enough may remember Ascension Thursday, the fortieth day after Easter, was a holy day of obligation when Catholics were required to go to Mass. In many areas, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord has been transferred to the Sunday before Pentecost, and this year it is celebrated on May 29th. This solemnity celebrates that Jesus was  raised up to heaven by his own power, ascending into  glory after completing the work of our redemption.

The Collect reminds us of the great joy of this feast, asking God to “gladden us with holy joy.” The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles relates how Jesus was gathered with his apostles, and they asked him when he was going “to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus tells them that it is not for them to know the “times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power  when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.” “When he had said this, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” The Gospel from Luke relates how Jesus was taken up to heaven, and the disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.”

Called to Witness

Witnesses; a task Jesus gave to his disciples, and it is a task for us today. “With great joy!” Are we joyful witnesses to the love of Jesus, and do we share that love and joy with others? How do we witness the love of Jesus to others? By serving the poor, the needy, the unhoused? By teaching the young, in our families, schools, parishes? Are we joy-filled witnesses to the love of Jesus?

There is a famous quote by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,  “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” Joy, a great gift to others, one that can be shared by a smile, a handshake, an embrace. But how do we foster our sense, our awareness of God’s presence.

Prayer is a powerful way to foster our awareness of God’s presence.  This includes all types of prayer, liturgical prayer, meditation, centering prayer. Visiting Daylesford Norbertine Abbey indaylesford abbey Paoli Pennsylvania is a great place to start. You can join them for liturgical prayer.

Morning Prayer, Saturday & Sunday’s – 8:30 am Monday thru Friday – 8:00 am

for the Celebration of the Eucharist :Sunday – 10:30 am & Saturday – 9:00 am
Monday thru Friday – 8:30 am,

for Evening Prayer Monday thru Sunday – 4:30 pm and for

Adoration Monday – 4:00 pm

You can join them in person for Mass or  Sunday Mass is Live Streamed at 10:30am EST

Click HERE to view the live stream

Opportunities for Retreat and Meditation

Meditation, resting in God’s embrace, is a great tool, and the priests at Daylesford Abbey offer helps for us to grow in this activity. Their style of prayer is “marked by a spirit of contemplation.” They share with they have experienced with others through spiritual direction, which “aims to make clear the voice of God so one can become more responsive to God in our lives.”

They have a retreat center where they offer private and group retreats. You can visit, walk, and pray at the outdoor Stations of the Cross, entered through the Arbor Gateway. “Thresholds are primarily spiritual in nature, not simply physical. Thus, crossing a threshold confirms one’s willingness to move from the natural world to the supernatural. Our gateway entrance marks passage through a holy doorway designed to symbolize one’s decision to enter into the life of Jesus Christ so as to be transformed from sin’s brokenness to wholeness through grace.”

Meditation, transformation, wholeness, stages on the way to a joy-filled follower of Christ. Being a follower leads to action, and there are ways to be involved at Daylesford Abbey.

Service

Bethesda Project is a major ministry to the homeless of Philadelphia — was founded in 1979 by Norbertine Domenic Rossi and the Abbey prayer group that he was leading at the time. It has grown from one residence for women to 14 facilities ranging from emergency shelters to permanent supportive residences. It serves over 2000 different individuals per year.

The abbey’s Outreach Ministry collects food that is delivered to St. Gabriel’s Food Cupboard, and they support the homeless through the Bethesda Project. The abbey also supports Mission Santa Maria in their ministry to migrants. The Isaiah 58 Ministry also assists migrants and refugees. Visit https://daylesford.org/ministry/ to read and learn more. Their Stephen Ministry implements “Christ caring for people through people,” helping people who are going through difficult times.

Joy is evident in the priests at Daylesford Abbey, in the people working in these ministries, and in the people they serve. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, so notice the smiles of these people involved in the Bethesda project.

Where to start? Where to begin? Next Sunday, June 5th, we celebrate the solemnity of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. The Holy Spirit continues to be active today, so take this week to pray, to reflect, and to visit the abbey website. The first reading of Pentecost tells us that “to each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”  So yes, the Spirit is given to each of you, to each of us, for some benefit. In joyful anticipation, may you discover where you are being called  to pray, to share, to serve, to indeed be “infallible signs of the presence of God.”