Blessed be the providence of God that makes all things evolve towards the order that best suits our progression in the Kingdom of heavens. All that God chooses to happen is for our edification in Him and for our development into His divine mold. This year for instance we celebrate the Holy Ascension (a moving feast) in the same day with the celebration of the Sts. Constantine and Helen (a fixed feast). One May say it is just random‚ at the end of the day even a broken clock shows the right time twice a day‚ but I don’t believe in coincidences.
Let me explain my train of thoughts in this particular instance. The Ascension of our Lord commemorates the blessed event of the departure of our Lord Jesus Christ from earth into the heavens‚ at the right hand of the Father. It is the moment when our humanity that He has assumed is taken up and elevated at the level prepared for us from the beginning of the world. It is the moment when the words of St. Athanasius are fulfilled: “God became Man so man can become god.” The Apostles witness Christ’s departure as they see Him ascending on a cloud of glory assisted by His angels and they receive the promise of the Comforter that will assist them in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
On the other hand‚ the two saints we commemorate today‚ Saint Constantine and his Mother Helen‚ are commemorated as “God crowned sovereigns and also equal to the Apostles”. The first part of the title is easy to understand‚ after all‚ they were emperors… The second part is generally linked with their central role in freeing Christianity from the pagan Roman yoke. We owe Constantine a great deal in the spreading of Christianity within and without the bounds of the Roman Empire. But is that all? You knew I was going to say that…
The superimposing of the two feasts today unveils yet another aspect of being “equal to the apostles” that applies to Constantine. The Apostles have seen Christ high up in the sky and they have received reassurance from Him that their efforts of christening the pagan world will be assisted by the Holy Spirit. Constantin is also equal with them because him as well‚ witnessed the sign of the same Christ‚ the Cross‚ high up in the sky and he also received reassurance that in this sign he will be victor against the adversary.
Isn’t it this beautiful? Could this be simply a coincidence? I don’t think so. I for one feel richer today‚ not only because I understood this theoretically‚ but also because I know as well that this is actually what happened‚ as both the Apostles and St. Constantine were successful in their missions entrusted to them‚ for the benefit of generations upon generations.
Christ is ascended! Truly He is ascended!
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