[...] [T]he gate of heaven remained shut against us, until He threw it open by His own entrance into that sanctuary, where He was to exercise His eternal office of “Priest according to the order of Melchisedech.”
By His Ascension into heaven, His priesthood of Calvary was transformed into a priesthood of glory.
He entered with the veil of His once passible and mortal Flesh, within the veil of His Father’s presence, and there is He our Priest forever.
How truly is He called Christ, that is, “the Anointed!” for, no sooner was His divine Person united to the human Nature, than He received a twofold anointing: He was made both King and High Priest.
[...] Let us, then, follow our Emmanuel, and see Him as our High Priest.
[...] Let us go in thought to the temple of Jerusalem.
[...] Man is banished from the place wherein God dwells; he is unworthy to enter into so holy a presence.
He was created that the he might see God and be eternally happy with that vision of God.
There is a veil between himself and Him who is the his last end; neither can he ever remove that veil.
Such is the severe lesson given to us by the symbolism of the ancient temple.
But there is a merciful promise, and it gives a gleam of hope. This veil shall one day be raised up, and man shall enter within.
[...] As we have already noticed, none was allowed to enter the Holy of holies; there was but one exception, and that was in favour of the high priest, who might, once a year, penetrate beyond the veil….
If he entered without holding in his hands a vessel containing the blood of two victims, previously immolated by him for his own and the people’s sins, he was to be put to death.
If, on the contrary, he faithfully complied with the divine ordinances, he would be protected by the blood he carried in his hands, and might make intercession for himself and all Israel.
How beautiful and impressive are these figures of the first covenant! But how much more so their fulfillment in our Jesus’ Ascension!
Even during the period of His voluntary humiliations, He made His power felt in this sacred dwelling of God’s Majesty.
His last breath on the cross rent the veil of the Holy of holies, hereby signifying to us that man was soon to recover the right he had lost by sin, the right of admission into God’s presence.
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).