"Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!" —Philippians 4:4
Paul made one of the greatest proclamations in history when he commanded the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!" On the day Paul first met the Philippians, he and Silas were beaten, stripped, scourged, thrown in jail, and had their feet tied to a stake (Acts 16:22-24). Under these terrible conditions, Paul and Silas decided to rejoice and sing praises to the Lord (Acts 16:25). This joyful praise was catalytic. It was followed by an earthquake, which resulted in freedom from chains and prison (Acts 16:26). Next, the jailer and his family were converted to Christ (Acts 16:33). At Philippi, Paul personally experienced the power of praise and joy. So he knew what he was talking about when he commanded: "Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!"
Paul came to realize that he had joy not in spite of sufferings but rather by means of sufferings. Sufferings are not incompatible with joy; instead, they are even necessary to rejoice always. Paul proclaimed: "Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you" (Col 1:24). We rejoice in the measure that we share Christ's sufferings (1 Pt 4:13). Therefore, it is impossible to rejoice in the Lord always unless we suffer with Christ.
Joy is catalytic. It sets off a chain-reaction of miracles leading to salvation. Redemptive suffering is a catalyst of catalysts. It leads to joy.
Prayer: Father, on this Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, reveal to me the mysteries of joy.
Promise: "Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel!" —Zep 3:14
Praise: Alleluia! Praise Jesus, our risen Lord, soon to come! Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997