On the day of his ascension Christ, the supreme high priest of the human race, having conferred on us a legal title, bears us up with him in hope to heaven.

We must never forget that it is only through him that we can gain entrance there.

No human being can penetrate the Holy of Holies except with him; no creature can enjoy eternal happiness except in the wake of Jesus; it is his precious merits that win us infinite bliss.

For all eternity we shall say to him, “Because of you, Jesus Christ, because of the blood you shed for us, we stand before God’s face.

“It is your sacrifice, your immolation, that wins our every moment of glory and happiness.

To you, the Lamb that was slain, be all honour and praise and thanksgiving!”

In this interval of time until Christ comes to fetch us as he promised, he is preparing a place for us, and above all he is supporting us by his prayer.

Indeed, what is our High Priest doing in heaven? The Letter to the Hebrews gives the answer: he has entered heaven in order to stand now in God’s presence our behalf.

His priesthood is eternal, and therefore eternal too is his work as mediator. How infinitely powerful is his influence!

There he stands before his Father, unceasingly offering him that sacrifice recalled by the marks of the wounds he has voluntarily retained; there he stands, alive for ever, ever interceding for us.

As high priest he is unfailingly heard, and for our sake he speaks again the priestly prayer of the last supper:

Father it is for them that I pray. They are in the world. Guard those whom you have given me. I pray for them, that they may have in themselves the ­fullness of joy. Father, I will that they may be with me where I am.

How could these sublime truths of our faith fail to inspire us with unwavering confidence?

People of scanty faith though we are, what have we to fear? And what may we not hope?

Jesus is praying for us, and praying always. Let us then trust absolutely in the sacrifice, the merits, and the prayer of our High Priest.

He is the beloved Son in whom the Father delights; how could he be refused a hearing, after showing his Father such love?

Father, look upon your Son. Through him and in him grant us to be one day where he is, so that through him and with him we may also render to you all honour and glory.

Columba Marmion (1858-1923): Christ in His Mysteries, 2.16.5; from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Year 1.