HOW YOU MAY GET THE LASTING PEACE OF CHRIST ON THE FEAST OF HIS ASCENSION
On the Feast of the Ascension, St Gertrude was preparing for Holy Mass in her convent at Helfta, Germany. She besought Our Lord as to how she could honor Him the most on this day that marks the august moment He ascended into Heaven to take His place at the right hand of God the Father. Our Lord said that when she received Holy Communion, she was to offer Him the entirety of her will, not breaking it so that she followed her own desires sometimes and His desires for her when it suited her. He also asked her to grieve sincerely for the "many occasions" she had followed her own will and not His, and that for the future she was to resolve solemnly to follow His will in all things all the time. This was a particular piece of direction for Gertrude. While it was the 13th century and Gertrude was a Benedictine nun who had taken a vow of obedience, she had a history of using her wiles to get her own way, even if this was contrary to Jesus's will. And Jesus led her in repentance of how she had obeyed herself as opposed to Him on the Feast of His Ascension.
As Gertrude took the Eucharist into herself, Our Lord spoke to her, "Behold, I come to you, My Spouse...to take you with me and present you to God My Father." On hearing this, she had the most sublime insight: when Our Lord comes into a soul that has received His Body and Blood, He takes to Himself the desires and good will of that soul and then presents an illustration of such to God the Father. This representation of our wants and good parts of our will is like "a seal upon wax" that Our Lord presents to His Father on our behalf. Gertrude saw Jesus go to His Father and Jesus was adorned with the prayers of the faithful who had received the Eucharist, and each prayer was like a precious stone. God the Father drew all these offerings of the faithful to Himself by way of His Almighty Power.
Some hours later on the feast of the Ascension, Gertrude saw Our Lord as more beautiful than all the children of man and He was wearing a green tunic and a brilliant red mantle. The green represented the wondrous and life-renewing works of His Humanity, and the brilliant red was for His supreme love which had powered Him through His dire pain and sufferings. She had the awesome privilege of seeing Him accompanied by a legion of angels and He gave special pledges of love to the souls who had received Him in the Eucharist that day, and said He assured them, "I am with you unto the consummation of the ages."
To a select number of souls - but not to all - He gave their souls a golden ring with a precious stone and He promised, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." The vision of the select group of souls awarded this special ring caused Gertrude to ask if they received the ring because they had greater merit than other souls. Our Lord did not agree, He explained that the ring was given them because, "They meditated on My goodness to My disciples, in eating and drinking with them before I ascended into Heaven, and for each morsel that they took, saying, "O most loving Jesus, may the virtue of Thy Divine love incorporate me entirely in Thee!"
When Gertrude prayed the antiphon at Vespers, "He lifted up His hands and blessed them, and was taken up into Heaven", she was given a vision of Jesus rising up by His Divine Power and giving His blessing, He said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." The understanding imparted to Gertrude was that Our Lord had given streams of grace so efficiently to all the souls who had honored the feast of His Ascension with true and sincere devotion. And that whatever trouble may come to them, He would allow for His peace to be present in their souls as emblems of fire are covered with ash.
For you, dear reader, who are discerning how these revelations afforded Gertrude may be adopted by you, you may do as she did and renounce your own will entirely. This was harder for Gertrude than most souls. Yes, she was a great Saint, the only woman saint to be hailed as "the Great", but she was a strong willed German Fräulein, and it is no accident that Our Lord invited her to follow His will without deviation on the Feast of the Ascension. He is calling you and me to the same renunciation of our wills so that His Divine will may take the place occupied by our human ones, so that our thoughts, words and deeds may be ordered to the Divine Plan.
After Our Lord had asked Gertrude to abandon her own will, He showed her that He presents the prayers and good will of those who receive the Eucharist to His Father in Heaven. My will and your will can only be as good as they are in line with Jesus's, and the more my will and yours correspond to His will, the more He can present them to His Heavenly Father.
The awesome revelation that when you or I receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, our prayers and good will are presented like a stamp on a candle to God the Father ought inform you and me as to the seriousness that we need to have when we pray as we receive the Eucharist, but also the confidence. The prayer you or I make when we go to Holy Communion will be presented by Our Lord to the Eternal Father, and then the Eternal Father will draw your prayers and also your good will to Him.
There is nothing stopping your soul from having the gold ring with the bright gem. It is not reserved for those who have attained extra merit. You need make this prayer your own, "O most loving Jesus, may the virtue of Thy Divine love incorporate me entirely in Thee!" while you meditate on Our Lord's generosity to His disciples in eating and drinking with them in the days before His Ascension.
There is a thrill of calm when you or I accept that the peace Gertrude saw Our Lord give souls who had kept the Feast of the Ascension with a purity of devotion and love for Him may be ours, too. The peace of Christ that lasts, even in the midst of strife and afflictions, is as Gertrude was shown, like sparks of fire, which under the ash of life will still warmly console you, as only Our Lord's peace can.
This post was informed by The Life and Revelations of St Gertrude the Great which is available in the Spirit Daily Store.