Forty (yes that number again) days after the Resurrection Christ returns to Heaven.
Some time before Al became Catholic I had to sit through a really daft sermon at his church where the minister was obviously really struggling with the concept of Christ rising up to heaven on a cloud.
He kept going on about not needing to leave our brains at the door; in other words it couldn’t possibly have happened the way the Gospel said it did, because…well, because some sugary artists drew Jesus on a fluffy white cloud.
Old fashioned classical medieval artists on the other hand actually knew Scripture well and painted their understanding of it. Christ did not ascend to heaven on a pink fluffy cloud, He ascended wrapped in the Shekinah, the Glory Cloud of the Holy Spirit; the same cloud that the Israelites followed with Moses.
It’s one of the Holy Trinity moments; The Father and the Holy Spirit receiving back the Son once His work was completed.
It’s also the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. She appeared to the three children in Portugal for the first time on May 13th 1917. She offered hope that the war was to end but warned that unless mankind seriously got his act together another war would follow. When the lights are seen in the sky, she told Lucia, Jacinta and Fransico. Of course people loved the spectacle and the miracle of the Sun but not enough to really DO anything and so on a night in 1936 scientists and others were astonished at the sight of the northern lights being so bright and active they could be seen in southern Britain. And then came the war.
Our Lady also warned that Russia would spread her errors. Sadly that too came about. Lenin, Stalin and their follow on tyrants slaughtered well over 40 million of their own people. Horror stories abound from those days -although they are rarely seen in the mainstream.
The wall went up, not to keep the enemy out, but to build a huge Eastern Block Prison.
John Paul the Great loved Our Lady of Fatima and credited her with saving his life when the Muslim terrorist shot him. The bullet that failed to kill him is in the crown of her statue I believe.
Many believe that John Paull II is the man who fulfils the prophecy given to St Faustina that
“From Poland will come the spark that will ignite the whole world and prepare it for My Final Coming.”
It was largely thanks to John Paul that the Berlin wall came down and the heart of Communism was crushed. Of course it isn’t over yet, but we live in Hope.