Sharing in His Joy, Completely
June 1, 2022 (readings)
- Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
- Andrew Rawicki
Lifting up his eyes to Heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to seek your truth and follow you. You have told me through your eternal word that you wish for me to cling to you and thus share in your joy—not just to some small degree set aside for each one of us, but completely. Let me take this to heart and refrain from the alternative of endlessly chasing the fleeting pleasures of this world.
- Guarded Well: By this point in John’s Gospel, we know that many disciples had left Jesus (John 6:66). It is comforting to know that Jesus didn’t consider any of these lost; in fact, only Judas, who couldn’t bear the shame of his betrayal and therefore wasn’t capable of seeking forgiveness, was lost. Indeed, the only unforgivable sin is “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12:31), which is beautifully explained by our Church: “There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss” (CCC 1864).
- Complete Joy: What puts a smile on our face? Perhaps today you will be offered some interesting assignment at work. Maybe a child will voice gratitude for some act you performed, or your spouse will offer you words of affirmation. Each of these is a “good” that God wants us to experience (and which should prompt us to offer thanks back to him). Of course, tomorrow the actions of your boss, child, or spouse may not similarly please you. Jesus, in this prayer to the Father, asks that we are enabled to transcend these worldly pleasures, which are fleeting, and to experience a joy which is complete. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Lord, let me use my free will to discern and follow your perfect will, assured in the hope that this will lead to complete joy, if not in this world, then in the next.
- Consecrated in Truth: Today’s liturgy is a memorial to an early witness (in Greek, “martyr”) to the truth of Jesus Christ. St. Justin is so well known by his witness that he is often referred to as “St. Justin Martyr.” In the days of Justin, the consequence of witnessing to the truth was severe persecution, often culminating in making a choice to either renounce Our Lord and Savior, who is “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” or to offer one’s earthly life with the hope of an eternal reward in Heaven. How could such courage ever be mustered? Jesus prayed to the Father that every one of his followers, and us, would be “consecrated in the truth.” He then proclaimed that he would consecrate himself for each of us so that we could remain in the truth. His Passion, death, and Resurrection make it possible for us to have this audacious hope! He left us his Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth (John 16:13) and to provide us with the gift of wisdom. Lord, let me graciously accept this unmerited gift from you, and, like the philosopher (in Greek, “lover of wisdom”) St. Justin Martyr, let me proclaim the truth of the Gospel to those whom I encounter today.
Conversing with Christ: Today I ask that you take away all of the lies and deception that encircle me and let me bask in your truth. Help me to seek you first, rather than reaching instead for the world’s fleeting pleasures, secure in your promise that this will allow me to share in your joy completely.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will identify at least one fleeting pleasure which I have allowed to take hold in my life, and I will pledge to forego that activity and replace it with something more pleasing to you.
For Further Reflection: “Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honor and love only what is true, declining to follow traditional opinions, if these be worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right” (excerpted from The First Apology of St. Justin Martyr, c. 155 AD).
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