A message from Bishop William, Archbishop of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States, Ojai, California, 21 May 2017. This year the Feast of the Ascension falls on Thursday, May 25.

During the Liturgy for Ascension Day, after the reading of the Gospel, the celebrant proceeds to reverently extinguish the Pascal Candle saying, “The Great forty days are over; the Lord hath ascended into heaven; and so in His Name I extinguish this pascal candle, which for forty days has symbolized among us his risen body, for a token that as its light, leaving this lower world, passes to higher realms, so may we in heart and mind thither ascend and with him continually dwell.”

Tradition holds that during the forty days from the time of Our Lord’s Resurrection until his Ascension the Savior was amongst his disciples teaching and training them in preparation for their ministry. Much of what he taught is not revealed to us in our canonical scriptures. But we can be assured he was busy in preparing the church. John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

His Ascension, His ultimate and complete reunion with the Father is accomplished. This mystical union presages for us as his disciples our own conscious union with the Father. His Ascension foreshadows our own Theosis that, in taking upon Himself our humanness, Christ lifts all of Humanity into the presence and experience of Divinity.

So even though the physical light of the Pascal candle is extinguished, we must daily remind ourselves that the Eternal Light within the heart of each and every one is never extinguished; it is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9

That Light burns ever brightly in the heart of every person and we are called to look for that light within ourselves and within the hearts of all, so that we may in heart and mind ascend with Christ and dwell continually with Him in conscious union. 

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