may they all be one in us.
"Father, while I was with them I kept them in your name." This was the prayer our Lord made on the eve of his passion.
But it would not be inappropriate to apply it to the day of
the ascension, when he was about to leave his disciples and
entrust them to the Father.
He who in heaven directs and governs
the hosts of angels created by himself had chosen a small group
of his disciples as his associates on earth. These he would
instruct in person until the time when their hearts were sufficiently
opened to be led by the Spirit. And so, great God that he was,
Christ loved these little ones with a love worthy of his greatness.
withdrawn them from secular pursuits, he knew they had abandoned
all worldly ambitions and now relied on him alone.
But as long as he shared their mortal way of life he did not
lightly lavish on them marks of his affection; his manner toward
them was grave rather than tender, as was fitting for a master
and a father.
Now, however, when the moment was at hand for him to leave his disciples, he
seemed overwhelmed by the depth of his affection for them, and unable to disguise
the overflowing tenderness which until then he had hidden from them.
the words of the evangelist: "Having loved his own who were in the world,
he loved them to the end." He laid bare the whole strength of his love for
his friends, before pouring himself out like water for his enemies. Handing
over to them the sacrament of his body and blood, he instituted the celebration
of the eucharist.
It is hard to say which was the more wonderful, his power
or his love, in devising this new means of remaining with them, to console
them for his departure. In spite of the withdrawal of his bodily presence,
he would remain not only with them but in them, by virtue of this sacrament.
It was at that moment that he commended them to his Father. Eyes raised to
heaven, he said: "Father, while I was with them in the world, I kept them
in your name, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition. And now I
am coming to you. Keep those you have given me in your name. I do not pray
that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from
the evil one."
Much more he went on to say; but the whole of his prayer
can be summarized in these three petitions, which are themselves a summary
of salvation, namely that the disciples should be kept from evil, sanctified
in truth, and glorified with Christ.
"Father," he said,"I desire that they too, whom you
have given me, may be with me where I am, so that they may
see my glory." Happy those who have their judge for their
advocate, pleading for them even while he must be adored
with as much honor as the one to whom he addresses his prayers!
Father will not refuse the desire expressed by his lips,
for he shares with him one single will and one single power,
since God is one. All is bound to be accomplished that is
requested by Christ, whose word is all-powerful and whose
will is wholly efficacious.
Of everything which exists, he
spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood forth.
And now he says: "I desire that where I am, they too may
be with me."
What certainty for believers! Not to the apostles only, or to their companions,
is this assurance offered, but to all those who through their word will believe
in the Word of God: "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who
through their word will believe in me."
on the Ascension 1-2: PL 185, 153-55)
of Igny (c. 1070/80-1157), about whose early life little
is known, probably received his education at the cathedral
school of Tournai, perhaps under the influence of Odo of
Cambrai (1087-92). He seems to have lived a retired life
of prayer and study near the cathedral of Tournai. He paid
a visit to Clairvaux to consult Saint Bernard, and is mentioned
by him as a novice in a letter to Ogerius in 1125/1256.
He became abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Igny, in the
diocese of Rheims in 1138. A collection of fifty-four authentic
sermons preached on Sundays and feast days have been edited.
Guerric’s spirituality was influenced by Origen.