Spring 2011

Introduction: The Ascension and Pentecost

The Spring, 2011 issue of Communio continues our series on the mysteries of the life of Jesus with a reflection on the Ascension and Pentecost. The mystery of Christ’s Ascension signifies the definitive entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by the open heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand (cf. Acts 1:8–11; 2:33; 7:56). In John’s gospel, the Risen Christ says, “do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.” Jesus’ return to the Father in the Ascension together with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit establish an enduring bond between all of the mysteries of Jesus’ earthly existence and the life of the Church. In this issue the editors of Communio also are pleased to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the birth of Maurice Blondel (1861–1949), the philosopher from Aix whose courageous life and writings sparked a renewal of Catholic philosophy and helped Catholic theology return to a more authentic tradition.

José Granados, in “The First Fruits of the Flesh and the First Fruits of the Spirit: The Mystery of the Ascension,” reflects on the relationship between the Resurrection and the Ascension in light of the meaning of time. Granados shows how the Ascension safeguards the link between the earthly life of Jesus and the time of the Church. “With the Ascension, something new follows the events of Easter: the glorified flesh of Jesus associates the body of the Church to himself, and, through this body, the entire cosmos. . . . If in his Incarnation Jesus binds the origin of history to his own origin in the Father, now he unites his definitive return to the Father with history’s movement toward God.”

Jean-Pierre Batut, in “Learning to Live the Theological Virtues in Christ’s Passion, Ascension, and Pentecost,” reflects on the meaning of Ascension and Pentecost for our configuration to Christ in faith, hope, and love. Batut suggests that the liturgical feasts of Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost trace out an itinerary that leads the Christian from faith to hope and from hope to love, allowing for an interiorization and assimilation to God in the descending mode of filial adoption.

David L. Schindler, in “The Given as Gift: Creation and Disciplinary Abstraction in Science,” offers an extended argument regarding the nature of abstraction and the legitimate autonomy of the sciences. Challenging the widespread assumption that scientific abstractions or distinctions are metaphysically neutral, Schindler shows how “[t]he God-world distinction as disclosed in the act of creation shapes the primitive nature of all distinctions, and hence all abstractions, in the cosmos. Indeed, every distinction and abstraction implies a sense of the God-world relation.”

1. Discours de Jean Paul II aux participants au Colloque international “Blondel entre ‘L’Action’ et La Trilogie,” 18 November 2000.