The Resurrection—The Forty Days—The Ascension —The Prayer In The Upper Room, And Pentecost (March, April, And May Of The Year ?) Part 2.

It is believed that, during those forty days, Mary was present at most of the appearances of Jesus to His disciples. Whether it was in the Upper Room where, with closed doors, He came to visit His own, or whether it was upon the hill of Galilee at one of the last meetings, Mary was at these precious interviews in which the Master perfected the hearts of His disciples by showing them His own, and revealing its love, its tenderness, and its depths.

It is thought by all that she was there at the departure of Jesus. She was at that last meal which the Saviour took with His apostles. As at the Last Supper, Jesus ended with His farewell and final counsels, but with what a difference! Here, all was joy and peace. It seems, in fact, that Mary felt no sadness on the day of the Ascension.

There was indeed the separation from Jesus; but God willed that the mother of the Redeemer should be so united to her Son in joy as well as in sorrow, that it appears that it did not cause her grief to see Him ascend into heaven. Sadness at the separation existed however, and was felt, but rather by anticipation, at the time of the death of Jesus, and later, under another aspect, in her last years. In the day of her Son's triumph, Mary felt nothing but joy and triumph also. She was therefore, at the time of the Ascension, entirely in sympathy with Jesus; she rejoiced in her union with Him, and she knew that this departure presaged the coming hour when she herself would be with Him, in the bliss of heaven. Above all, she loved. " If ye loved me," said Jesus, " ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father." 1 No one loved as did Mary, neither so deeply nor so truly, and no one therefore could rejoice as she did, in the joy of the King of Glory.

From the Upper Room, which seems to have been the place of the last meal, the Saviour brought the disciples to the Mount of Olives, upon the road to Bethany, having either directed them to meet Him there, or having, invisible to other people, walked with them from Jerusalem. And upon this same mountain where He had endured His agony, He for the last time smiled upon the little band gathered round Him, and perhaps, walking among them, He said to each a special farewell. To His mother in particular, Jesus must have addressed one of those sayings in which He was accustomed to convey so much meaning, and which for long after brought balm and comfort to the soul. This was the day of the earthly farewell, before the final, the celestial, the eternal reunion.

Then Jesus, lifting His hands, already assumed the attitude which He preserves on the right hand of the Father: that of prayer which calls down grace upon us, grace which is the fruit of the Passion and showers upon us the benedictions of God. And while He blessed the kneeling group, the Master was taken from them, and carried up into heaven. ... A cloud received Him out of their sight.

Mary also followed Him with her eyes, filled with unspeakable love and ineffable hope. At this moment, when her Son went to take His place on the right hand of the Father, how her grandeur shone forth ! During His mortal life the splendour of her Son was hidden, and as a result, Mary, in the eyes of men, was merely the mother of a man. But now, Jesus is manifested in all His glory, and the Father receives Him on His throne. Mary is truly the mother of Him who, one with the Father, is seated at His right hand, and with Him, is about to send down the Holy Ghost. At the moment when the heavens opened to receive Jesus, they opened also to reveal the greatness of the mother of God.

The cloud, however, closed again upon Jesus. The two angels in white garments, sent to warn the apostles that He will one day come again to judge the world, had disappeared. The first disciples of the Saviour were alone upon earth with their mother Mary. They travelled the Sabbath day's journey, about fifteen hundred yards, which separated the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem, and re-entered the Upper Room to prepare themselves for the coming of the Holy Ghost.

Apostles and disciples, to the approximate number of one hundred and twenty persons, formed the nucleus of the Church, the most fervent among those who believed in Christ, and who, believing His word, now awaited in faith the hour of the great illumining of the Paraclete. Each day they came from their dwellings and gathered together to pass long hours in prayer at the same place, now become a sanctuary, where Jesus had instituted the Eucharist. There were among them some holy women; the relatives of the Lord, James and Jude, numbered among the apostles, and two others, Simon and Joses, who were not of the apostolic band; the eleven apostles, of which Saint Peter completed the number by the addition of Saint Matthias; finally, above the faithful, above the hierarchy, in a more elevated rank^ was " Mary the mother of Jesus," 2 teaching them all to continue with one accord in prayer and supplication, and in her heart uniting, symbolising, and amplifying the prayers of all the Church.

And this Church which Jesus had bought and established with His blood, in which He had apportioned to each his function and degree, wanted but one thing, a final inspiring breath, which should give fulness to its life and stir it to immediate action. Christ had promised this completion of His work, by means of the Holy Ghost. For the whole Trinity took part in the work of founding the Church, and in the sanctification of souls. The Father is the source of every perfect gift; He gave us the Son, and with and by the Son He gives us the Holy Spirit. And, even as the Holy Spirit is the end of the essential and spiritual operations of God, it is also the last gift which outwardly completes the divine work.

It was the fiftieth day after the Resurrection, about nine o'clock in the morning, that a great noise as of a rushing mighty wind which filled the whole house, announced to the apostles the coming of the Comforter. There appeared in the Upper Room, cloven tongues like as of fire, which rested on the head of each of them. Immediately they were filled with holy rapture; prayers and thanksgivings in all tongues burst from their hearts in which the divine fire had been kindled by the Holy Ghost. When the people heard of this, they gathered together, and, for the first time, Peter, in the name of the twelve apostles, gave witness to Christ, and there were added to the Church three thousand disciples.

More deeply imbued with the Holy Spirit, and more tranquil in her thanksgiving, Mary remained praying, and yet once again, gave thanks to God for the great things He had done for her. The Paraclete descended upon her as upon all the others ; to reach the others, that grace had, so to speak, passed through her, that is to say it had been drawn down by her mediation and her prayers. God, who descended to visit the Upper Room, had, by a fresh and unfathomable pouring out, increased the holiness and the abundance of the seven gifts in her soul. He had also conferred or augmented in her, those other marvellous gifts so celebrated in the early Church under the name of " charisms," that is to say, "gifts" of the Holy Spirit. 3 We may therefore piously think that in all probability these gifts, which God distributed among the members of the first Christian communities, were all bestowed on Mary, and in an abundant degree. In the use of them, however, she must have allowed herself to be guided by divine wisdom, and have acted in accordance with her mission, which, higher than the priesthood or the apostolate, was formally, neither that of apostle nor priest. The grace of Pentecost therefore conferred upon her, or perfected in her, that " faith " which works wonders; the " gift of miracles," and the " gift of tongues," to be used according to circumstances, and with the most perfect wisdom ; the " discerning of spirits," the " interpretation of tongues," and " prophecy," for the purpose of reading hearts, penetrating into mysteries, and occasionally, when it pleased God, foretelling the future ; " prophecy," again, in the sense in which the word was often used then, the " word of wisdom," and the " word of knowledge," not for preaching in the public assemblies, but rather for instructing and touching the heart in private discourse. And most certainly the " gifts of healing and help were the privileges of the ever-pitying Virgin.

On that day, the Holy Spirit descending upon all, confirmed and perfected each in his degree and function. He fortified the simple faithful in the Christian life, and the apostles in the apostolate. And He consecrated Mary anew in her part of mother of grace in relation to the Church and the faithful. Descending upon her on the day of the Annunciation, He had ordained that she should become the mother of Jesus. To-day, as an addition to the treasure of her maternal virtues, already so incomparably rich, He constituted her, the mother of Christ the Redeemer, as the mother of the mystic body of Christ, which was now confided to her care.

1 St John xiv. 28.

2 Acts i. 14.

 3 See I Corinthians xii. 8-10 and 28 ; Ephesians iv. II.