Joy without End
May 27, 2022 (readings)
- Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter
- Teresa Williams
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. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to this time of prayer seeking you above all else. I do not seek promises of an easy life, free from the cross, but rather to find in you, yet again, the strength to persevere in the struggle of faith, hoping in the promise of what is not yet visible. Gently guide my gaze to you, Lord Jesus. In your gaze, I find the answer to all of my questions and the fulfillment of my deepest desires.
You Will Weep and Mourn, While the World Rejoices: In the hours leading up to his Passion and death, Jesus was clear with his Apostles. His death was not to be a passing moment to be erased from the Christian memory and replaced by happier memories of the Resurrection. He declared that his cross would continue to mark the lives of his followers for centuries to come. His Kingdom, as he later proclaimed to Pilate, was not of this world, and thus, those who chose to be citizens of this Kingdom could be sure of encountering suffering and contradiction along their earthly pilgrimage. Those who committed to following him were sure to endure a daily struggle to reject the world’s empty promises and renew their choice to take up their cross and follow him.
Your Grief Will Become Joy: It might seem strange to reflect on sorrow within the context of the Easter season. Yet, the truth is that in the Christian worldview, sorrow, as well as every other human experience, can in fact only be discussed in the context of our Easter joy. As we have often heard before, we are an Easter people. Our faith and our entire lives have been irrevocably touched by the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection. We are living in the age of the Resurrection, and no human or spiritual experience can or should be lived outside of the life-changing truth that Jesus has risen. In the light of the Resurrection, all suffering takes on meaning. The insatiable thirst of our hearts is not a cruel, tormenting taunt, but a promise. Our hearts suffer precisely because they are made for all that is good and true.
No One Will Take Your Joy Away: So great is the joy that Jesus promises to us that absolutely nothing will be able to take it away! Jesus tells us that when our joy finally culminates, we will no longer question him about anything. There will no longer be room for doubt. Our hearts will be so overflowing with his joy that we will lack for nothing. The ache of our thirst will be quenched. The longing of our hearts will be filled. The unfulfilled desires that so often leave us wondering if we have been condemned to incompleteness will be satisfied. While still making our pilgrim way on earth, we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are a people who live on promises. But the trustworthiness of these promises has been guaranteed by the One who has overcome the grave and risen from the dead. The inheritance that he has won is to be our inheritance.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, how often my heart aches in its longing for the realization of its deepest desires. I long to see them already fulfilled and I suffer the pain of waiting in faith and trust. Grant me the grace to persevere amid the darkness of faith with my eyes set firmly on your promises. Strengthen me in my struggle to renounce the allure of easy substitutes and teach me to find my joy only in you and the hope of what you promise.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will briefly recall your promise of joy when I am reminded of the imperfection and suffering in this world.
For Further Reflection: The Joy of Believing: A Practical Guide to the Catholic Faith, by Archbishop William Lori.
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