Ten years ago I was part of an international community in Rome, preparing for perpetual vows. And it was this month when I discovered that we Brits were liturgically out of step with most of the rest of the world, because I was the only one who expected to celebrate the Ascension on a Thursday! Italy, and the home countries of my sisters, had all switched the feast - and, as I later realised, Corpus Christi too - to the following Sunday.
It felt weird, but at least it prepared me for the weirdness to come when our own bishops followed suit a few years later. It's a weirdness that others feel too, as I discovered when we met for community prayer, and when I read the ibenedictines blog this morning (here). Forty days are not forty-three! Then a short while ago I read the reflections of an American RSCJ whose travels will mean two Ascensions this year (here); reflections which add a new layer of significance and insight to the mix.
So at community prayer we recalled Sophie and read the Gospel for the Ascension, which I will also hear on Sunday. And following on from yesterday's post about joy, it's good to have a Gospel which ends with the disciples being "full of joy" even after Jesus has left them. This is truly the leavening joy I wrote about yesterday, which springs from the faith and love that make the risen Christ, though invisible, the very core of the disciple's existence! Heaven on earth, be it a Thursday or a Sunday!