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Dear brothers and sisters,
We celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension that marks the end of His earthly mission and its beginning for the Church. Enthroned in heaven, He continues His saving work through the Church, “which is His Body, the fullness of the One Who fills all things in every way” (Eph. 1:18, 23). This gives us a great sense of hope in the midst of the innumerable sufferings that we face.
In her message, Our Lady’s Assumption is our hope and consolation for the Church in the “fullness” of Christ, which She refers to as the “new era.” She is “the luminous door” that opens to this new reality. We will read Message 453, “The New Era,” taken from the book “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (Mark 16: 15-20)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
Points for Reflection
Before his Ascension, Jesus commissioned his disciples - “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” - indicating that His work is not terminated, but continues through the apostles and disciples, and in our times through the bishops with the priests, religious and laity helping them. They were to preach the Good News and to offer the Sacrament of Baptism.
The Gospel shows Jesus’ presence despite His return to heaven: “they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mk. 16:20). Despite his physical absence, he is present to them. He explains this unique presence in the First Reading (Acts 1:1-11): “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” He previously told them about the Spirit’s testimony: "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send from the Father – the Spirit of Truth, who comes from the Father – he will testify on my behalf” (Jn. 15:26). Thus, after receiving the gift of empowerment at Pentecost, they knew that Jesus was beginning to work through them even when he is there in heaven. In the Second Reading (Eph. 4:1-13), Paul mentioned the “grace” given to each “according to the measure of Christ’s gift . . . (so) that he might fill all things.” With the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit, they were no longer the men they used to be, but co-workers with whom “the Lord worked and confirmed their word through accompanying signs.”
Aside from the varied gifts of the Holy Spirit, Paul also reveals the “hope” that the Ascension promises: the riches of glory and the power that Jesus brings us. Enthroned in heaven, He reigns in the Church, “which is His Body, the fullness of the One Who fills all things in every way” (Eph. 1:18, 23).
August 15, 1991
Solemnity of Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven
Rubbio, Vicenza, Italy
Points for Reflection
Our Lady invites us to contemplate the splendor of Her Assumption. Assumed “body and soul” into heaven, She joins in the glory of the Ascension, with Her Son “at the right hand of the Father.” This is the hope of glory that St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading: “the hope that belongs to His call, the riches of glory in His inheritance among the holy ones, and the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe” (Eph 1:17-23). With this hope, She calls us to live in joy and confidence the last times of the Second Advent (pointing to Jesus’ second coming on earth in His glorious reign), “by looking to me as to the sign of sure hope and of consolation” (453 a).
Our Lady tells us in a separate message that the “new era,” i.e., the Church in the fullness of Christ, is so great that its equal has never existed since the creation of the world” (435 d). Apparently indescribable, She, however, makes a sketch of this era:
It is a particular encounter between paradise and earth. Heaven comes down to earth, “transforming it completely to shape the new heavens and the new earth.”
The “new era” brings all creation to the perfect glorification of the Most Holy Trinity. All of us will live the grace of our baptism in its fullness. St. John Paul II had this thought when he prepared us for the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. He said that this millennium would be marked by a new springtime in Christianity, which will have, as its goal and fulfillment, the life of each Christian and the whole Church in the Triune God (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, November 10, 1994).
“The new era coincides with the complete fulfillment of the divine Will, which the Lord has revealed to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. This refers to the gift of living in the original mode (i.e., in the image and likeness of God). St. John Paul II made mention of this new and divine holiness: “God himself had provided to bring about that new and divine holiness with which the Holy Spirit wishes to enrich Christians at the dawn of the third millennium in order to make Christ the heart of the world” (Address to the Rogationist Fathers, May 16, 1997).
The Book of Revelation talks about the “first resurrection” wherein saints will come to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-6). This resurrection is spiritual in nature, i.e., a rebirth of all Christians here on earth to a new life of grace, seeing the saints of the past through visions and apparitions. This “first resurrection” is part of the new era, which “brings us to a full communion of life with those who have preceded (us) and who, in paradise, enjoy perfect happiness.”
How could Satan ever reign in this new era of triumphant Christianity and sanctity on earth where only saints remain? The Bible says that Satan would be chained (Rev. 20:2). Thus, the new era coincides with the defeat of Satan and of his universal reign. “All his power is destroyed. He is bound, with all the wicked spirits, and shut up in hell from which he will not be able to get out to do harm in the world. Herein, Christ reigns in the splendor of his glorified body, and the Immaculate Heart of your heavenly Mother triumphs in the light of her body, assumed into the glory of paradise.”
A Blessed Ascension Sunday! God bless you all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.
Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur: Bishop Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Archbishop Francesco Cuccarese, 2007