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Ascension Day  2


Door panels of the Church of Santa Sabina depict 2 ascension scenes. The left is the Ascension view from heaven. The right is the Ascension view from Mt of Olives. Rome. 5th Century

Lift up your head, O gates!

Opening Meditation


Stanzas from John of Damascus' Ascension Hymn (676-749)

O Christ, Giver of life, lover of humankind, you went up to the Father

and exalted our race in your ineffable compassion.

The ranks of Angels, as they saw your mortal nature going up with you,

O Saviour, were astounded and without ceasing sang your praise.

The choirs of Angels were amazed, O Christ, as they saw you being taken up

with your body, and they sang the praise of your holy Ascension.

Human nature, which had fallen by corruption, you raised up,

O Christ, and by your ascension you exalted and glorified us with yourself. 


You were taken up in glory, King of the Angels,

to send us the Comforter from the Father.

And so we cry out: Glory, O Christ, to your Ascension.

As the Savior had ascended to the Father with his flesh,

the hosts of Angels were struck with amazement, and cried out:

Glory, O Christ, to your Ascension.

The angelic Powers cried out to those above:

Lift up the gates for Christ, our King;

whose praise we sing, together with the Father and the Spirit. 


When you had filled the universe with gladness, merciful Lord,

you took your place with your flesh among the powers on high.

The angelic powers, as they saw you being lifted up, cried out:

Lift up the gates for our King!

The Apostles, as the saw the Savior being raised up, cried out with fear:

Glory to you, our King!


As they watched you, the redeemer of the world, Christ God,

being divinely exalted, the Apostles leapt for joy and magnified you with awe.

As the Angels saw your flesh now made divine, O Christ,

in the height, they signaled to one another: Truly this is our God.

As the ranks of bodiless powers, Christ God, saw you being raised on clouds,

they cried: For the King of glory lift up the gates.

As the One who descended into the lowest part of the earth and saved mankind,

and raised it up by your ascension, we magnify you.

Scripture Reading

Psalm 24

Entrance into the Temple

1  The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,

    the world, and those who live in it;

2  for he has founded it on the seas,

    and established it on the rivers.

3  Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?

    And who shall stand in his holy place?

4  Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,

    who do not lift up their souls to what is false,

    and do not swear deceitfully.

5  They will receive blessing from the Lord,

    and vindication from the God of their salvation.

6  Such is the company of those who seek him,

    who seek the face of the God of Jacob.


7  Lift up your heads, O gates!

    and be lifted up, O ancient doors!

    that the King of glory may come in.

8  Who is the King of glory?

    The Lord, strong and mighty,

    the Lord, mighty in battle.

9  Lift up your heads, O gates!

    and be lifted up, O ancient doors!

    that the King of glory may come in.

10  Who is this King of glory?

    The Lord of hosts,

    he is the King of glory.




What word or phrase stood out to you as you read this passage? Pause for reflection.

Contemplate with Art:

  • Look at the art on the door panels above. Pause at the first thing that catches your eye. Stay there for a moment and ask what it is that draws you to this place?

  • Continue around the image in the same manner, pausing to gaze at each place that catches your eye.

  • Now sit back and look at the door panel as a whole. What, if anything, do you see that you didn’t notice before?


  • Read the passage again, allowing yourself to enter with your imagination. 

  • How does this royal depiction of the King of Glory impact your view of Christ's ascension? How does it impact your life?



  • Close your eyes and recall the passage and image in your mind. What do you remember? Talk with God about anything you experienced.

  • Are you resistant to anything? If so talk to God about what you are resisting.

  • Do you sense God speaking to you or calling you to action? Ask God for the help to follow his voice.




Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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