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333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'" 196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!" 197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been. 198 Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. 199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement. 200

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474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal. 108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal. 109

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659 "So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God." 531 Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. 532 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity. 533 Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand. 534 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul "as to one untimely born", in a last apparition that established him as an apostle. 535

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665 Christ's Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3).

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672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel 561 which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. 562 According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church 563 and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching. 564

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673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, 565 even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority." 566. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed". 567

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697 Cloud and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai, 43 at the tent of meeting, 44 and during the wandering in the desert, 45 and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. 46 In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. 47 On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'" 48 Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming. 49

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726 At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve ("mother of the living"), the mother of the "whole Christ." 108 As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer," 109 at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.

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730 At last Jesus' hour arrives: 117 he commends his spirit into the Father's hands 118 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," 119 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples. 120 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 121

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735 He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God [has] loved us." 127 This love (the "charity" of 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit. 128

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857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:

- she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles," 362 the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself; 363

- with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching, 364 the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles; 365

- she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor": 366

You are the eternal Shepherd
who never leaves his flock untended.
Through the apostles
you watch over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the flock
to share in the work of your Son.... 367

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1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people. 94 On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, 95 a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost. 96 Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim "the mighty works of God," and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. 97 Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn. 98

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1310 To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act. 128

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2617 Mary's prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father's plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ's conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his Body. 88 In the faith of his humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance he had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made "full of grace" responds by offering her whole being: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." "Fiat": this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God's, because he is wholly ours.

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2623 On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Promise was poured out on the disciples, gathered "together in one place." 92 While awaiting the Spirit, "all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer." 93 The Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls for her everything that Jesus said 94 was also to form her in the life of prayer.

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2673 In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus. 27