SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
THE SIXTH ARTICLE OF THE CREED.
Q. Which is the sixth article?
A. He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Q. When did he ascend into heaven?
A. Forty days after his resurrection.
Q. How was he employed during those forty days ?
A. He instructed his apostles and his disciples, in several matters belonging to the church he had established; particularly by frequent apparitions, he confirmed the truth of his resurrection. He explained to them the nature of the sacraments, with the ceremonies to be used, as also what was required in the government of his church, relating to power and church discipline.
Q. What grounds have you to believe such matters were the subject of his conversation ?
A. Very good grounds. The Scripture tells us in the Acts of the Apostles, that he was speaking of the kingdom of God; chapter i. verse 3. It was the part of a law-maker, to speak of such matters. Hence, the fathers generally agree, that several customs and practices observed in the church, were ordered by him at that time, whereof they mention several particulars, only known by tradition, and nowhere expressed in the Scriptures.
Q. Explain the manner of his ascension: did he ascend as to his divinity, or only as to his soul and body; and why did he ascend ?
A. As to his divinity, God being a pure spirit, and present every where by his immensity, he was incapable of local motion, and by consequence, could neither properly ascend or descend. What is meant therefore, is, that his body and soul ascended visibly in the sight of the apostles to heaven, though they were both before in a state to bliss, but imperceptible to human eyes; Acts i. 9. Again it is said he ascended, that is, by virtue of his own power, and was not carried to heaven as Elias was, by outward help, which was a proof of his being God. He ascended into heaven, not only to open the gates for himself, but for his followers; not only to take possession of his own inheritance, but also to make us joint heirs with him; not for his own happiness alone, but that we may for ever (if we please) be happy with him. He went to take care of our eternal interest; and so he told his apostles, " I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also;" Jo. xiv. 2, 3. He ascended in order to draw our hearts after him, and that our thoughts, our wishes and desires, may be always aiming higher than this miserable world, and so aspiring toward him in heaven. Thus. says St. Paul, "our conversation is in heaven Phil. iii. 20.
Q. Why is he said to sit, and why at the right hand ? Why are the words of Father and Almighty made use of on this occasion?
A. Sitting is a posture signifying ease, honor, and the stability of the state of supreme glory and sovereign power he was placed in; so that we do not understand that Christ is always in a sitting posture. The right hand, though only metaphorically applied to God (for we do not imagine that God has any hands or feet, he being a pure spirit, without any body at all), denotes preference and power, and that Christ as man, excelled all created beings, and was a powerful intercessor. Lastly, the word Father, and Almighty, insinuate, that those who apply themselves to him, might expect to be treated in the same manner, as a tender parent treats his child, and have the comfort of being succored by a power which could not be withstood.