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Saint Mary Coptic Orthodox Church 
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The Blessings of the Feast of Ascension 
By His Grace Bishop Serapion

1. The Ascension gives the spirit of hope.

Who would have thought during the sufferings of the Cross, and what humiliations and scorn that were there, that He will end in that glory in the Resurrection and the Ascension and the sitting at the right hand of the Father?! Does not this give us the fullness of hope whenever we are surrounded by tribulations? Let us remember that after the sorrows of the Golgotha, there are the rejoicings of the Resurrection and the glories of the Ascension. All the problem lies in that it is a matter that needs faith, confidence and patience. There are people who are swallowed by tribulations whenever these happen to them, and their souls remain imprisoned inside the tribulations, as if there were no salvation!!

The lives of these people end in despair without hope, at the Golgotha; and if the story of Christ had ended with His crucifixion, we would have become the most miserable of men. But we rejoice because the story of the Crucifixion was followed with the Resurrection, then the Ascension. In the Resurrection it was possible to destroy death, but Christ still remained on earth. While in the Ascension, He is raised up over the earth, in glory, to heaven. The miracle of the Ascension gives us a kind of hope from two sides: The first one is meant for those who were scandalized by the Cross of our Lord and by the accompanying humiliations and sufferings, in that the riposte was first in the glory of the Resurrection, then in the glory of the Ascension. In that way, faith returned to those who had thought that everything ended with the Cross; and we have the hope that after every cross, there is resurrection and there is ascension. This hope accompanied the martyrs and the confessors in every generation.

The second side of hope is that we shall have the same: Therefore, as Christ ascended with a glorious body, so we also shall have a glorious body (Philippians 3:21). And as a cloud took Him out of the sight of the Apostles in His Ascension, so we also shall come with Him on the clouds on the last day, “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (1 Thess. 3:13), when “the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all” (Jude 14-15), when He will be “coming with clouds, and every eye will see him” (Rev. 1:7). “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17) Verily how great is that hope!……