Thursday, May 29, 2014

“No One Will Take Your Joy Away from You”

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

By Melanie Rigney

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision, “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. No one will attack and harm you, for I have many people in this city.” He settled there for a year and a half and taught the word of God among them. (Acts 18:9-11)

All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, for the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth. (Psalms 47:2-3)

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:20-22)

Lord, be my port, my shelter, and my rainbow in the storms that buffet my life.

Has your hour arrived?

I suspect many of us feel we have more than one during our lives. I think of the heartaches some of my friends have endured in the past couple of years: loss of an infant after less than one day of life, after an all-too-normal full-term pregnancy. The death of a spouse who suffered a never-before-experienced seizure while driving and was involved in a head-on collision. The discovery of not one but two life-threatening medical conditions despite decades of healthy, balanced living. The loss of yet another job at an age where it’s next to impossible to find a new one.

Will their grief be turned into joy at some point? For some, it appears to be in progress. The young couple is pregnant again, five months later. The woman who lost her husband has retired and moved to the vacation home where they both had hoped to live in a few more years. The others are waiting, hoping, and praying. That’s all any of us can do when our hour is here or approaching. It’s about having the patience and faith to follow, and to believe in that greatest of all love, even when there is no earthy evidence of it.

The great St. Teresa of Avila talked of the road we travel with and to Christ this way in her Way of Perfection:
It is most important—all-important, indeed—that they should begin well by making an earnest and most determined resolve not to halt until they reach their goal, whatever may come, whatever may happen to them, however they may have to labor, whoever may complain of them, whether they reach their goal or die on the road or have no heart to confront the trials which they meet, whether the very world dissolves before them.

For despite how important a beautiful baby, a good job, and wonderful spouse and indeed our very lives on earth are to us, they do not represent the ultimate joy. We find that when we believe what the Lord promises: We will see him and nothing can ever take that from us.

Set aside fifteen minutes of prayer time today to listen: not to ask for or complain about a single thing. Consider how you feel when the time has passed.

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