The Ascension of Jesus

By Mary Kretzmann

It was very early in the morning, around 4 AM, and still dark outside; the lamps were burning in the upper room of the big house in which the last supper was held. The Apostles, and Jesus’ Mother, were there, having breakfast. (There were other disciples in this big house, but they were in other rooms.) Suddenly Jesus was there with them; he simply appeared, just like the other times, even though the doors were closed. At first they were quite startled and frightened; then he said, “Hail and Peace. It is I.”

They calmed down and offered him a cushioned chair, and something to eat, and he took a little of it. He spoke to them strongly and earnestly for a long time of things pertaining to the kingdom of God, at times pointing his finger upward toward heaven. And then he told them that today would be the last time they would see him on earth in human form.

It was now time to tell the other disciples. The apostles called together the others who were in the house, and explained what was happening. These included some new disciples who had come to know Jesus in the very last day of his life, such as the wife of Pontius Pilate, and Longinus, a Roman soldier who was deeply changed at the foot of the cross. Many others were also changed that day.

Soon they all walked out of the house, following Jesus, who was wearing a radiant white robe. They walked on a path that took them out of Jerusalem, crossing a brook called Cedron, and then headed out toward Bethany, but not all the way to the house of Lazarus.  Soon they turned left, climbing up a small mountain. They were all barefoot, and He was walking along, always slightly in the lead, but his feet never really hit the ground. Peter and John were on either side, and He was talking with everyone…

A large gathering of people awaited him on top of the mountain. Jesus first spoke to everyone there, then to his Apostles, and finally to his mother. (She was standing near the rear of the group.) He stressed that they should not leave Jerusalem but stay together and, “Wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard of me. For John (the Baptist) truly baptized with water; you shall be baptized of the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”

When he spoke privately with his Apostles, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?”

And he said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But you shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost past of the earth…And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues…they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Most beautiful of all was the way Jesus took leave of his mother. She was the last one he spoke to. As he finished speaking with her, he looked at her with an expression of particular love; she cried tears of deep love for her son, and for God.

And then he held his hands half raised, palms upward, and he began to rise up toward the east. Behind his back the sun had just risen. His white robe glistened like snow, and the wounds from the cross were now made of brilliant light. The wound near his heart could be seen clearly shining through his clothing. And the sun behind him was red and fiery, and very beautiful. They all gazed steadfastly toward the east, watching him. He rose very slowly, giving a last, loving look, and then he began to hold his hands downward. Then a beautiful white cloud came and no one could see him anymore.

Suddenly two luminous men in white clothing were standing there. “You men of Galilee, why stand you here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go up into heaven.”

And then they were gone, too. In the quiet awe following this incredible blessing, John looked at the place on the ground on which Jesus last stood. Something on the stone caught his attention, and he pointed it out to everyone else. Jesus’ footprints had been left behind on the stone! First, Jesus’ mother came up, then Mary Magdalene, and then all the rest of them, and with deep love and reverence they kissed the footprints.

And they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Luke 24:53

Notes:

These stories are taken from the gospels, and details are added from the visions of Therese Neumann.  In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda gives a first hand account of the stigmata and attests to the genuineness of Therese’s visions.

Yogananda later revealed that Therese had been Mary Magdalene in a past life, and for this reason, was blessed with Christ’s wounds and the weekly visions. He explained that Therese’s life was intended to reassure Christians everywhere of the authenticity of Jesus’ life and crucifixion as recorded in the New Testament, and to show the ever-living bond between Christ and his disciples.

Yogananda also said that Therese was a free soul, who enjoyed the highest state of samadhi. Throughout her life, she served as a willing “victim” for the salvation of souls by taking onto her own body the karma of others.

For more see:

Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda

Chapter 39: Therese Neumann, the Catholic Stigmatist

More inspiration:

The Jesus Prayer Meditation, By Mary Kretzmann

Appearances of Jesus, By Mary Kretzmann on scribd.com

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