Summary of Catholic Teaching. TOPIC 11: THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD


Summary of Catholic Teaching

Dear brethren in Christ, dependng on the country the Ascension will be celebrated either tomorrow or on Sunday. As such, I decided to share this doctrinal summary regarding the Solemnity of Our Lord an excerpt of the Topic 11 regarding 

Happy reviewing and meditation! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo



  1. General meaning of Christ’s glorification

Christ’s glorification consists in his Resurrection and his Exaltation in heaven, where he is seated at the right hand of the Father. The general meaning of Christ’s glorification is tied to his death on the Cross. Just as by Christ’s Passion and Death, God abolished sin and reconciled the world to himself, so likewise, by Christ’s Resurrection, God inaugurated the life of the future world and put it at mankind’s disposition.

The blessings of salvation stem not only from the Cross, but also from Christ’s Resurrection. These fruits are applied to men through the Church’s mediation and the Sacraments. Specifically, through Baptism, we receive pardon for our sins (both original sin and personal sins) and are clothed in the new life of the Risen One.

  1. Christ’s glorious exaltation: “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”

The glorious exaltation of Christ comes about through his Ascension into heaven, which took place forty days after his Resurrection (cf. Acts 1:9-10), and his glorious enthronement in heaven, to share as man the Father’s glory and power, and to be Lord and King of creation.

When we make our confession of faith in this article of the Creed that Christ “is seated at the right hand of the Father,” “by this expression we understand the glory and honor of the divinity, where he who existed as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified.” [3]

With the Ascension, the mission of the Redeemer—the sending of Christ among men in human flesh to bring about their salvation—comes to an end. After his Resurrection, Jesus continued his presence among us so as to manifest his new life and complete the disciples’ formation. But this presence ends on the day of the Ascension. However, when he returns to heaven to be with the Father, Jesus nevertheless stays with us in other ways, principally in a sacramental manner through the Holy Eucharist.

The Ascension is the sign of Jesus’ new condition. He goes up to heaven to share the Father’s throne, not only as the eternal Son of God, but also insofar as he is true man, the victor over sin and death. The glory that he had bodily received with the Resurrection is now completed with his public enthronement in heaven as Sovereign of creation, alongside the Father. Jesus also receives the homage and praise of the blessed in heaven.

Since Christ came into the world to redeem us from sin and lead us to perfect communion with God, his Ascension inaugurates humanity’s entrance into heaven. Jesus is the supernatural Head of mankind, as Adam was in the order of nature. Since our Head is in heaven, we who are his members have the real possibility of reaching heaven too. Moreover, he has gone to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house (cf. Jn 14:3).

Seated at the right hand of the Father, Jesus continues his ministry as universal Mediator of salvation. “He is the Lord who now in his humanity reigns in the everlasting glory of the Son of God and constantly intercedes for us before the Father. He sends us his Spirit and he gives us the hope of one day reaching the place he has prepared for us” (Compendium, 132).

Indeed, ten day after his Ascension into heaven, Jesus sent the disciples the Holy Spirit as he had promised. Since then, Jesus continually sends the Holy Spirit to mankind to give them the life-giving power he possesses and gather them together in the Church, so they might form one people of God.


After the Lord’s Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Virgin Mary was raised in body and soul to heaven, for it was fitting that the Mother of God, who had carried God in her womb, should not undergo corruption in the tomb, in imitation of her Son. [4]

The Church celebrates the feast of our Lady’s Assumption on August 15. “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians” (Catechism, 966)

The glorious Exaltation of Christ:

a) Encourages us to live with our gaze fixed on the glory of Heaven:quae sursum sunt, quaerite (Col 3:1); to remember thathere we have no lasting city(Heb 13:14); and to strive to sanctify all human realities;

b) Impels us to live by faith, since we know that we are accompanied by Jesus Christ, who knows and loves us from heaven and who continually gives us the grace of his Spirit. With God’s strength we are able to carry out the apostolic work entrusted to us, and help bring all souls to him (cf. Mt 28: 19) and place Christ at the summit of all human activities (cf. Jn 12:32),so that his Kingdom might become a reality (cf. 1 Cor 15:25). Furthermore, he always accompanies us from the Tabernacle.

  1. The Second Coming of Christ: “From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.”

Christ the Lord is King of the universe, but all created realities are not yet subject to him (cf. Heb 2:7; 1 Cor 15:28). He gives men and women time to prove their love and fidelity. But his definitive triumph will take place at the end of time when the Lord will appear with power and great glory (cf. Lk 21:27).

Christ has not revealed the time of his Second Coming (cf. Acts 1:7), but he encourages us always to be vigilant; and he tells us that before this Second Coming, or parusía, a final assault by the devil will take place with great calamities and other signs (cf. Mt 24:20-30; Catechism, 674-675).

Then Christ will come as Supreme and Merciful Judge to judge the living and the dead. This is the universal judgment, when the secrets of each one’s heart will be revealed, along with each person’s conduct towards God and neighbor. This judgment will confirm the sentence each person received at death. All men and women, according to their deeds, will be filled with life, or condemned for eternity. Thus will the Kingdom of God be consummated, that God may be everything to every one (1 Cor 15:28).

In the final judgment, the saints will receive, publicly, the reward they merited for the good they did. Justice will thereby be reestablished, since in this life it often happens that those who do evil are praised, while those who do good are despised or forgotten.

“The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them ‘the acceptable time….the day of salvation’ (2 Cor 6:2). It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the ‘blessed hope’ (Tit 2:13) of the Lord’s return when he will come ‘to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed’ (2 Thess 1:10).” ( Catechism, 1041)


Basic Bibliography


Catechism of the Catholic Church , 638-679; 1038-1041.


Recommended Reading


John Paul II, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ , Catechesis: 25 January 1989; 1 February 1989; 22 February 1989; 1 March 1989; 8 March 1989; 15 March 1989.


John Paul II, The Ascension of Jesus Christ , Catechesis: 5 April 1989; 12 April 1989; 19 April 1989.


St. Josemaria, Homily “The Ascension of our Lord,” in Christ Is Passing By , 117-126.




[1] St Josemaria, The Way, 584.


[2] Ibid, 719.


[3] St John Damascene, De fide ortodoxa, 4. 2: PG 94, 1104; cf. Catechism, 663.


[4] Cf. Pius XII, Const. Munificentissimus Deus, 15 August 1950: DS 3903




ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Benjamin West (painter), The Ascension, in,_PRA.jpg




5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jack Yager says:

    Of all of the miracles described in the Bible, I find the miracle of the Ascension to be the most confusing one. During the First century AD almost everyone thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, as Aristotle had also assumed several hundred years earlier. Today we know the earth is one of hundreds of billions of planets, and, that there are hundreds of millions of galaxies. As science advances we know more and more about the universe and how incredibly tiny the Earth is in relation to the rest of the universe. Now, also keep in mind that in 1999 Pope John Paul II issued a pronouncement that heaven is NOT a “PHYSICAL PLACE”. It is a state of being. Ok, so how then does the Catholic Church interpret the Ascension today? Since Pope John Paul II indicated that heaven is not a physical place/location, then was it Christ’s spirit that ascended into a heaven that is immaterial/spiritual? If so, does that mean his body was buried here on earth? If not, then please square this circle for me and explain the current position of the Catholic Church on the Ascension. I believe in the message of Christianity. I think the message is what’s most important. But please help me out on understanding my basic question here about the Ascension.


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