LEO I (the Great
On the Resurrection and Ascension

 Resurrection GrŁnewald

Sermon 72. NPNF 2, vol 12 , pp. 186-187; PL 54 394c-396c (On the Lordís Ascension, I.)

[2] The glorification of our nature; [3] wounds heal unbelief





I.  The events recorded as happening after the Resurrection were intended to convince us of its truth.

[0394C] CAP. I. Et moram Christi in terris post resurrectionem, et dubitationem discipulorum, ad fidem confirmandam dispositas esse

SINCE the blessed and glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the Divine power in three days raised the true Temple of God, which the wickedness of the Jews had overthrown, the sacred forty days, dearly-beloved, are to day ended, which by most holy appointment were devoted to our most profitable instruction, so that, during the period that the Lord thus protracted the lingering of His bodily presence, our faith in the Resurrection might be fortified by needful proofs.  For Christís Death had much disturbed the disciplesí hearts, and a kind of torpor of distrust had crept over their grief-laden minds at His torture on the cross, at His giving up the ghost, at His lifeless bodyís burial. 

Post beatam et gloriosam resurrectionem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, qua verum Dei templum Judaica impietate resolutum divina in triduo potentia suscitavit, quadragenarius hodie, dilectissimi, sanctorum dierum expletus est numerus, sacratissima ordinatione dispositus, et ad utilitatem nostrae eruditionis impensus: ut dum a Domino in hoc [0394D] spatium mora praesentiae corporalis extenditur, fides resurrectionis documentis necessariis muniretur. Mors enim Christi multum discipulorum corda turbaverat, et de supplicio crucis, de emissione spiritus, de exanimati corporis sepultura gravatis moestitudine mentibus quidam diffidentiae torpor obrepserat. [0395A]

For, when the holy women, as the Gospel story has revealed, brought word of the stone rolled away from the tomb, the sepulchre emptied of the body, and the angels bearing witness to the living LORD their words seemed like ravings to the Apostles and other disciples.  Which doubtfulness, the result of human weakness, the Spirit of Truth would most assuredly not have permitted to exist in His own preacherís breasts, had not their trembling anxiety and careful hesitation laid the foundations of our faith. 

Nam cum sanctae mulieres, sicut evangelica patefecit historia, revolutum a monumento lapidem, sepulcrum corpore vacuum, et viventis Domini testes angelos nuntiarent, verba earum apostolis aliisque discipulis deliramentis similia videbantur. Quam utique haesitationem humana infirmitate nutantem, nequaquam permisisset Spiritus veritatis praedicatorum suorum inesse pectoribus, nisi illa trepida sollicitudo et curiosa cunctatio nostrae fidei fundamenta jecisset.

It was our perplexities and our dangers that were provided for in the Apostles:  it was ourselves who in these men were taught how to meet the cavillings of the ungodly and the arguments of earthly wisdom.  We are instructed by their lookings, we are taught by their hearings, we are convinced by their handlings.  Let us give thanks to the Divine management and the holy Fathersí necessary slowness of belief.  Others doubted, that we might not doubt.

Nostris igitur perturbationibus, nostrisque periculis in apostolis consulebatur: nos in illis viris contra calumnias impiorum, et contra terrenae argumenta sapientiae docebamur, Nos illorum instruxit aspectus, nos erudivit auditus, nos confirmavit attactus. Gratias agamus divinae 291 [0395B] dispensationi et sanctorum Patrum necessariae tarditati. Dubitatum est ab illis, ne dubitaretur a nobis.





II.  And therefore they are in the highest degree instructive.

CAP. II. Quanta his diebus a Christo facta fuerint

Those days, therefore, dearly-beloved, which intervened between the Lordís Resurrection and Ascension did not pass by in uneventful leisure, but great sacraments [sacramenta] were ratified in them, deep mysteries [sacramenta] revealed. 

Non ergo ii dies, dilectissimi, qui inter resurrectionem Domini ascensionemque fluxerunt, otioso transiere decursu; sed magna in his confirmata sacramenta, magna sunt revelata mysteria.

In those [days] the fear of awful death was removed, and the immortality not only of the soul but also of the flesh established. 

In his metus dirae mortis aufertur, et non solum animae, sed etiam carnis immortalitas declaratur.

In those [days] , through the Lordís breathing upon them, the Holy Ghost is poured upon all the Apostles, and to the blessed Apostle Peter beyond the rest the care of the Lordís flock is entrusted, in addition to the keys of the kingdom. 

In his per insufflationem Domini infunditur apostolis omnibus Spiritus sanctus; et beato apostolo Petro supra caeteros, post regni claves, ovilis Dominici cura mandatur.

In those days that the Lord joined the two disciples as a companion on the way, and, for the sweeping away of all the clouds of our uncertainty, upbraided them with the slowness of their timorous hearts.  Their enlightened hearts catch the flame of faith, and lukewarm as they have been, are made to burn while the Lord unfolds the Scriptures. 

In his diebus, duobus discipulis tertius in via Dominus comes jungitur (Luc. 24, 15), et ad omnem nostrae ambiguitatis caliginem detergendam, paventium ac trepidantium tarditas increpatur. [0395C] Flammam fidei illuminata corda concipiunt; et quae erant tepida, reserante Scripturas Domino, effi[.....] ardentia.

In the breaking of bread also their eyes are opened as they eat with Him:  how far more blessed is the opening of their eyes, to whom the glorification of their nature is revealed than that of our first parents, on whom fell the disastrous consequences of their transgression.

In fractione quoque panis convescentium aperiuntur obtutus; multo felicius horum oculis patefactis, quibus naturae suae manifestata est glorificatio, quam illorum generis nostri principum, quibus praevaricationis suae est ingesta confusio.

[cf. "Something Strange" Homily]




III.  They prove the Resurrection of the flesh.

CAP. III. Vulnerum suorum tactu trepidantia discipulorum corda confirmasse

3. And in the course of these and other miracles, when the disciples were harassed by bewildering thoughts, and the Lord had appeared in their midst and said, ďPeace be unto youĒ (Lk 24.36: Jn 22.19)., that what was passing through their hearts might not be their fixed opinion (for they thought they saw a spirit not flesh), He refutes their thoughts so discordant with the Truth, offers to the doubtersí eyes the marks of the cross that remained in His hands and feet, and invites them to handle Him with careful scrutiny,

Inter haec autem aliaque miracula, cum discipuli trepidis cogitationibus aestuarent, et apparuisset in medio eorum Dominus dixissetque, Pax vobis (Luc. 24, 36; Joan. 20, 26): ne hoc remaneret in eorum opinionibus quod volvebatur in cordibus (putabant enim se spiritum videre, non carnem), redarguit cogitationes a veritate discordes, [0396A] ingerit dubitantium oculis manentia in manibus suis et pedibus crucis signa, et ut diligentius pertractetur invitat:


because the traces of the nails and spear had been retained to heal the wounds of unbelieving hearts,

quia ad sananda infidelium cordium vulnera, clavorum et lauceae erant servata vestigia:

so that not with wavering faith, but with most stedfast knowledge they might comprehend that the Nature which had been lain in the sepulchre was to sit on God the Fatherís throne.

ut non dubia fide, sed constantissima scientia teneretur, eam naturam in Dei Patris consessuram throno, quae jacuerat in sepulcro.





IV.  Christís ascension gives greater joys than the fear of death had taken away; and the resurrection, greater privileges and joys than the devil had taken.

CAP. IV. . Ascensionem Christi eos laetitia affecisse, quos et mors trepidos fecerat, et resurrectio dubios reliquerat. Ampliora per Christum esse collata, quam per diabolum ablata.

4. Accordingly, dearly-beloved, throughout this time which elapsed between the Lordís Resurrection and Ascension, Godís Providence had this in view, to teach and impress upon both the eyes and hearts of His own people that the Lord Jesus Christ might be acknowledged to have as truly risen, as He was truly born, suffered, and died.  And hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples, who had been both bewildered at His death on the cross and backward in believing His Resurrection, were so strengthened by the clearness of the truth that when the Lord entered the heights of heaven, not only were they affected with no sadness, but were even filled with great joy. (Lk 24.52)

Per omne ergo hoc tempus, dilectissimi, quod inter resurrectionem Domini et ascensionem ejus exactum est, hoc providentia Dei curavit, hoc docuit, hoc suorum et oculis insinuavit et cordibus, ut Dominus Jesus Christus vere agnosceretur resuscitatus, qui vere erat natus, et passus, et mortuus. Unde beatissimi apostoli omnesque discipuli, qui et de exitu crucis fuerant trepidi, et de [0396B] fide resurrectionis ambigui, ita sunt veritate perspicua roborati, ut Domino in coelorum 292 eunte sublimia, non solum nulla afficerentur tristitia, sed etiam magno gaudio replerentur (Luc. XXIV, 52).

And truly great and unspeakable was their cause for joy, when in the sight of the holy multitude, above the dignity of all heavenly creatures, the Nature of mankind went up, to pass above the angelsí ranks and to rise beyond the archangelsí heights, and to have Its uplifting limited by no elevation until, received to sit with the Eternal Father, It should be associated on the throne with His glory, to Whose Nature It was united in the Son. 

Et revera magna et ineffabilis erat causa gaudendi, cum in conspectu sanctae multitudinis super omnium creaturarum coelestium dignitatem humani generis natura conscenderet, supergressura angelicos ordines, et ultra archangelorum altitudines elevanda, nec ullis sublimitatibus modum suae provectionis habitura, nisi aeterni Patris recepta consessu, illius gloriae sociaretur in throno, cujus naturae copulabatur in Filio.

Since then Christís Ascension is our uplifting, and the hope of the Body is raised, whither the glory of the Head has gone before, let us exult, dearly beloved, with worthy joy and delight in the loyal paying of thanks.  For to-day not only are we confirmed as possessors of paradise, but have also in Christ penetrated the heights of heaven, and have gained still greater things through Christís unspeakable grace than we had lost through the devilís malice.  For us, whom our virulent enemy had driven out from the bliss of our first abode, the Son of God has made members of Himself and placed at the right hand of the Father, with Whom He lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.

Quia igitur Christi ascensio, nostra provectio est, et quo praecessit gloria capitis, eo spes vocatur et corporis, dignis, dilectissimi, exsultemus [0396C] gaudiis, et pia gratiarum actione laetemur. Hodie enim non solum paradisi possessores firmati sumus, sed etiam coelorum in Christo superna penetravimus: ampliora adepti per ineffabilem Christi gratiam quam per diaboli amiseramus invidiam. Nam quos virulentus inimicus primi habitaculi felicitate dejecit, eos sibi concorporatos Dei Filius ad dexteram Patris collocavit: cum quo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.





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