[...] Our Saviour Himself explains it to us, by the words He spoke to His apostles after the last Supper: “It is,” said He, “expedient to you that I go.”
What means this, but that there is something more advantageous to us than having Him visibly present amongst us?
This mortal life is not the time for seeing and contemplating Him, even in His human Nature. To know Him, and relish Him, even in His human Nature, we stand in need of a special gift; it is faith.
Now, faith in the mysteries of the Incarnate Word did not begin its reign upon the earth, until He ceased to be visible here below.
Who could tell the triumphant power of faith? St. John gives it a glorious name; he says: “It is the victory which overcometh the world.”
It subdued the world to our absent King; it subdued the power and pride and superstitions of paganism.
It won the homage of the earth for Him who has ascended into heaven, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, Jesus.
[...] The departure of our Emmanuel was…the opening of that reign of faith, which is to prepare us for the eternal vision of the sovereign Good.
And this blessed faith, which is our very life, gives us, at the same time, all the light compatible with our mortal existence, for knowing and loving the Word consubstantial with the Father, and for the just appreciation of the mysteries which this Incarnate Word wrought here below in His Humanity.
It is now eighteen hundred years since He lived on the earth; and yet we know Him better than His disciples did before His Ascension.
Oh! Truly it was expedient for us that He should go from us; His visible presence would have checked the generosity of our faith.
And it is our faith alone that can bridge over the space which is to be between Himself and us until our ascension comes, and then we shall enter within the veil.
[...] Glory, then, and thanks to Thee O Jesus, who to console us in Thine absence, hast given us faith, whereby the eye of our soul is purified, the hope of our heart is strengthened, and the divine realities we possess tell upon us in all their power!
Preserve within us this precious gift of Thy gratuitous goodness; give it increase; and when our death comes—that solemn hour which precedes our seeing Thee face to face—Oh, give us the grand fullness of our dearest faith!
Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year @ The Traditional Latin Mass in Michiana (which contains a fuller version of this reflection, in addition to other related and beautifully presented material).