Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION DAY, 1931.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
“While they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel: which also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven.” This is the last scene in the last act of the Drama of Redemption.
When the curtain rose on the first scene in the first act, there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. “And lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.”
So it was at the end as it was at the beginning. Men gazing up into heaven. Angels bending over the earth. In the beginning the angels announced that He had come. At the end angels announced that He would come again.
This coming will be the climax. The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven. The trumpet shall sound. And the dead shall be raised. And the whole Company of Heaven will appear. What the glory will be, no mind can measure, no tongue can speak, no pen can write. But all eyes will see. All ears will hear. In that sublime pageant we shall have our place.
In the Eucharistic Mysteries we celebrate and make before the Divine Majesty, with the Holy Gifts, the memorial the Son hath commanded us to make: having in remembrance His Blessed Passion and Precious Death, His Mighty Resurrection and Glorious Ascension; rendering most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same. In the Eucharistic Mysteries we ourselves are made one body with Our Lord, that He may dwell in us and we in Him. In the Eucharistic Mysteries we are heirs through hope of His everlasting Kingdom, by the merits of His most precious death and Passion.
I am writing this on a rainy day. Since early morning the city has been Wrapped in a gray mist. The sky has been leaden. Some of us find peace in such days. But I suppose that most people find them dull. And some find them sad. We prayed for them at Mass this morning. “And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those who in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.” The Altar has been the one bright spot all day.
At every Mass we adore Our Ascended Lord, with Angels and Archangels and all the Company of Heaven. The scenes of His earthly life may and have been portrayed up to the Ascension. Beyond that He is in His glory which cannot be portrayed. And yet we see Him in the one way which is possible for us. He has given us His Sacramental Presence. Faith our outward sense befriending, makes our inward vision clear. He veils Himself, yet the veil reveals. The Sacramental Presence fills His temple with glory. It floods His sanctuary with the fulness of joy. In His Presence we find our peace, our strength, our solace, our hope, our confidence and our joy. The Kingdom of God is within us.
Affectionately in Our Lord,