I will set my throne within you

Easter 6 (year A)
see http://www.edgeofenclosure.org

The Ascension, Monaco Lorenzo, anitphonary c.1410

I will not leave you orphaned;
    I am coming to you.
I will send the Advocate,
    the Spirit of Truth.
You know him,
    because he abides with you,
       and he will be in you.

In a way, Jesus’ abandonment of the disciples upon the Mount of Olives is more profound than their abandonment on Calvary. After all, the disciples themselves predicted he would die. “Let us go and die with him” says a resigned Thomas when Jesus chooses to risk going to Judea to console his friends in Bethany.  As grevious as it was, the crucifixion was no surprise. 

But no one could have imagined the Resurrection and the extraordinary forty days during which Jesus dwelled again with his friends. Forty days with the resurrected Jesus – appearing in the upper room, along the way to Emmaus, upon the beach at Galilee!  Imagine their despair when this, the Jesus present to them in such an astonishing way, enters the Cloud on the Mount of Olives. He had said,“If I do not go, the Comforter will not come.” Again, imagination fails. 

The Church gives us ten days to practice dwelling in the ambiguous time between the Resurrected-Christ-vanished, and the Holy Spirit not-yet-come.  In the mystical life, Ascensiontide is the Dark Night of the Soul, the anguished sense of abandonment after a solid period of union.  The soul can not cling even to this union.  The last threads of attachment must be broken in the darkness of unknowing before the completion of the Christian transformation – being “sent” into the world as bearers of Love.

The mystics of the church testify to a stunning paradox.  The abandonment IS the union.  It is in the Dark Night of the Soul that Lover meets Beloved and transforming union takes place. A hidden union so intimate perception fails for a time. “He will be IN you.”

The with church we sing one of many clues. “ Come, mine elect one: and I will set my throne. within you.*”


*Antiphon at Lauds, Saints Days

4 Responses to “I will set my throne within you”

  1. ivory14450 Says:

    Very nice. I have a question though. “The Church gives us ten days to practice dwelling in the ambiguous time between the Resurrected-Christ-vanished, and the Holy Spirit not-yet-come.” Is ten a typo? If not, I don’t understand.


    • ammaguthrie Says:

      Ah, I should have been clearer. Thank you. Ascensiontide lasts 10 days. It begins 40 days after Easter (on a Thursday – this year June 2) and lasts until Pentecost. Each of the seasons, (the way they’ve evolved into the 20th century), can show the Christian “how to be” in the mystical life. Advent= Conversion and Purgation, Christmas=First Night, Epiphany=Illumination, Lent= the Dark Night of the Sense, Easter= First Union, Ascension=Dark Night of the Soul, and Pentecost =Apostolic Union. Our own souls proceed by their own timetables. But if you experience the Dark Night of the Sense, for example, you’ve been “practicing Lent” throughout your Christian life, and so, you instinctively know what to do, what to read, how to pray, how to appropriate the new consciousness of God being revealed to you. During the 10 days of Ascensiontide the church gives us prayers like “Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before…” (BCP p226 collect for the 7th Sunday of Easter.) And the Sunday Gospel reading is always part of the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus (John 17). “May they all be one as we are one.”
      Thank you for the question. I’m sure others had the same confusion. -Suzanne

  2. ivory14450 Says:

    Suzanne, thank you so much for the clarification. Blessings.

  3. Chris Says:

    This account is so helpful. Thank you!

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