Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Ascension of the Lord: 'Festival of unfolding of our destiny'

On Sunday 17 May, Cardinal Vincent preached the homily at the Mass of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street.

In his homily, the Cardinal recalled the words of Blessed John Henry Newman who 'recognises the appearances of the risen Lord as a great act of God's mercy for he continues: "Even to Simon, the coward disciple who denied him thrice, Christ is risen; even to us who long ago vowed to obey him and yet so often denied him before men, so often taken part with sin and followed the world when Christ called us another way." Today we renew in our hearts our loving gratitude to a Lord who looks so kindly and mercifully upon us.

Referring especially to the Ascension Cardinal Vincent continued, 'Today we particularly reach out to embrace the wonder of the Ascension of our Blessed Lord into heaven. This is surely the Festival of the unfolding of our destiny. We pray that where He the Head has gone may we his Body most certainly follow.'

This reality is firmaly rooted in God's mercy for each of us: 'The mercy of God, on which we are invited to ponder continually, is nothing other than the restless love of the Father longing for us to receive and embrace our true destiny. His merciful love is never exhausted, but flows to us time and again that we may start out afresh after every failure and disappointment.'

Continuing on the theme of mercy, the Cardinal reminded those present that 'those who counterpose the mercy of God with the commandments of God misunderstand both mercy and commandment. The commandments of God are given to us as a mercy, to help us how to live on the pathway of our true dignity and highest calling. They are not restrictions on our legitimate freedoms. They are not rules that above all else we have to obey. Rather they are the unfolding into practical living of our deepest nature and destiny.

'At the heart of our spiritual lives, then, lies this deep desire: that all we do may be in accordance with this overwhelming will of God for our salvation, for our fulfilment.'

The full text of Cardinal Vincent's homily can be found here.

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