Fix Your Mind's Eye on High - Sermon for the Feast of Ascension (2024)

Fix Your Mind's Eye on High - Sermon for the Feast of Ascension (2024) - Holy Cross Monastery

Today’s Feast can only be truly honored by silent wonder. We see the Lord God, clothed in our human nature, ascending beyond the heavens, and seating us in Himself upon the pre-eternal throne which He never left and forever shares with the Father and the Spirit.

What more can man want?

What more can man imagine?

What greater glory can man invent for himself than this?

What dream of self-deification could have even come close to mentally conjuring up such blessedness and heights of glory?

What more can God do to earn the trust and love of man?

What more can God do to rip man away from the delusion and passing dream of the passionate enchantment of sinful life?

What more can God do to show that He has done everything for man aside from according to him the status of worshipfulness?

Vain and proud man! What heights have your labors earned for you? Have you ascended to the throne of God by your feeble prayers? By a couple of tears? By a little hunger and toil of your body? By a little pain of soul?

What can purchase the exaltation given to you by God Himself robed in your frail human nature?

Let all those who think that their labors are worth anything contemplate the ascending Christ today. Let them be quiet and ashamed on account of their vainglory, pride, conceit, and shameless boasting. Nothing can purchase that which Christ has given us! Nothing!

And you, despairing man, who is in an opposite but no less passionate state than the proud man, where is the proof of your despair? Where is the evidence that you are lost now for all eternity? Where is the scientific fact that God has abandoned you, or neglects you, or does not care for you, or even hates you?

Take a remedy for your despair from the ascending Christ today, and behold Him exalting your lowly nature into the bosom of the Father! Does He not love you beyond the very angels themselves? Has He not proven Himself to you? Has He not shown you that He deems you an equal to Himself?!

Lustful man! See Christ ascending today! What pleasure is greater than that which He is giving us today? What delight can overcome the delight of ever-ascending spiritual joy and glory?

Angry man! See Christ ascending today! What is the cause of your anger? Your brother has offended you? Christ God was blasphemed, and instead of repaying His persecutors with leprous bodies and rotting mouths, He has raised them to the dignity of the Father Himself!

Gluttonous man! See Christ ascending today! Why is your belly full and dragging you down to the earth when Christ is lifting the all of you into heaven and even beyond heaven?

Sorrowful man! See Christ ascending today! What is afflicting you? Pain of body or soul? But this exists only for the moment contained by the blink of an eye when compared to the eternal joy Christ has given you! Are you pained by the loss of some thing or some one? But Christ has given you everything, even His own self. What more can you desire?

Greedy man! See Christ ascending today! What can shelter you, comfort you, soothe you, protect you, enrich you as much as Christ in heaven, glorified in your own flesh in the eternal presence of the Father Himself?

Ungrateful man! See Christ ascending today! What do you lack? Money? Riches? Fame? Comfort? Pleasure? Do you really count what Christ has accomplished for you—and not for Himself—cheaper than all these?

Judgmental and unforgiving man! See Christ ascending today! Where is justice with Christ? Where is His repayment for sin? Where is His retribution towards His crucifiers? Man killed God! God deified man! Why do we still occupy ourselves with harsh judgment, idle gossip, unjust slander, and proud self-righteousness? When will we learn how to repay others as Christ has repaid us?

Christ did not resurrect Himself for Himself. Christ did not ascend beyond the heavens for His own sake. He has done all this for all of us. He has accomplished man’s original purpose in Himself. He has seated our lowly nature upon the throne of the Father. He has, as the Scriptures, Fathers, and Hymnographers of the Church infallibly tell us, made our nature—what?!—equal to the very pre-eternal, self-existent, uncreated God the Father Himself!

Let us ever contemplate the heights of God’s love towards us in the ascended and divinely seated Christ!

Let us ever keep Him, and His entire incarnate dispensation, in mind lest we falter and fall into various passions and sins.

Let us ever fix our mind’s eye upon Him in heaven. He has promised to be with us unto the ages. He has promised to send the Holy Spirit to us and into us. From the lofty heights beyond all the heavens and angels He ever gazes upon His. More than this—He sympathizes with us, suffers with us, sorrows with us, repents with us, prays with us, rejoices with us!

Let us ever be mindful of Him! Let us ever be grateful to Him! Let us ever contemplate through the Scriptures the ineffable heights to which He has raised us!

If we always think upon these things, then where will sorrow, or anger, or lust, or ingratitude, or harsh judgment, or pride, or despair find a nest in us?

To contemplate Christ ascending beyond the heavens takes a child-like faith and purity of soul. To contemplate ourselves doing the same at the end of time, when Christ comes to resurrect us and raise us to Himself through an ineffable ascension, takes even greater child-like faith and purity of soul.

Let us seek to acquire such innocence which gives birth to eternal good things! Let us constantly cry out to Christ. Let us constantly bow down before Him. Let us constantly pour our hearts out to Him! Let us tell Him everything that is taking place in our soul. Let us share with Him both our pains, sorrows, needs, and frustrations, and also our joys, hopes, and thankfulness.

“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”—let us make this the constant occupation of our thoughts, feelings, and all our lives. If we constantly keep Christ in mind and heart through voice, thought, feeling, and desire, we will be with Him now, and we will be with Him forever.

A holy one once said that if we die with this Prayer on our lips and in our soul, then Christ will receive us to Himself for all eternity.

Let us desire this eternal life both for ourselves, and for every other soul created by God, even if it is deluded, misguided, disfigured, mangled, darkened, deformed, and twisted. For this is the desire of Christ—that all may be one with Him, and His Father, and the Holy Spirit, both now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen!

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