Pope: Jesus leads the way to heaven with His Ascension

At the Regina Coeli on Ascension Sunday, Pope Francis recalls how on this feast, Jesus brought our humanity into heaven, opening the way for us to follow so that we might live forever in paradise as children of the Father.

By Vatican News staff writer

Addressing the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the Regina Coeli prayer on this Sunday marking the Ascension of the Lord in Italy and many other countries around the world, Pope Francis reflected on two key aspects of this feast: why we celebrate Jesus' departure from the earth, and what He does now in heaven. 

Humanity in heaven

Remarking how "something new and beautiful happened," the Pope explained that with the Ascension, Jesus brought our humanity into heaven, as the humanity He assumed on earth "ascended into God" where it remains forever.

“We can say that from the day of the Ascension, God Himself,  “changed” – from that point on, He is not only spirit, but such is His love for us that He bears our own flesh in Himself, our humanity!”

The Pope explained that with Jesus who has returned to the Father with our humanity, heaven is already a bit like our own place. Jesus has opened the way for us. 

Always with us

The second aspect the Pope focused on how Jesus in heaven is always there for us before the Father, continually showing our humanity to Him – the wounds He suffered for us. Jesus is our advocate before the Father, he explained, and therefore always with us "to the end of the age" to make intercession for us. 

“(Jesus) is always with us, looking at us, and “he always lives to make intercession” for us. To make the Father see his wounds, for us. In a word, Jesus intercedes. He is in a better “place”, before his Father and ours, to intercede on our behalf.”

In concluson, the Pope said our faith can help us not to lose hope or get discouraged, as Jesus intercedes for us before the Father.

“May the Queen of heaven help us to intercede with the power of prayer.”


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21 May 2023, 12:09

What is the Regina Coeli?

The antiphon Regina Coeli (“Queen of Heaven”) is one of four traditional Marian antiphons, the others being Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina Coelorum, and Salve Regina.

It was Pope Benedict XIV who, in 1742, enjoined the recitation of the Regina Coeli in place of the Angelus during Eastertide, that is, from Easter Sunday to the end of Pentecost. It is recited standing as a sign of Christ’s victory over death.

Like the Angelus, the Regina Coeli is said three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, in order to consecrate the day to God and the Virgin Mary.

This ancient antiphon arose, according to a pious tradition, in the 6th century; it is attested in documentary sources from the first half of the 13th century, when it was inserted in the Franciscan breviary. It is composed of four short verses, each ending with an “alleluia.” With the Regina Coeli, the faithful turn to Mary, the Queen of Heaven, to rejoice with her at the Resurrection of Christ.

At the Regina Coeli on Easter Monday of 2015, Pope Francis spoke about the spiritual dispositions that should animate the faithful as they recite this Marian prayer:

“In this prayer, expressed by the Alleluia, we turn to Mary inviting her to rejoice, because the One whom she carried in her womb is Risen as He promised, and we entrust ourselves to her intercession. In fact, our joy is a reflection of Mary’s joy, for it is she who guarded and guards with faith the events of Jesus. Let us therefore recite this prayer with the emotion of children who are happy because their mother is happy.”

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