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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

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Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Psalm 59
Matthew 13:44-46

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don't disqualify yourself from joy

"When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy." —Jeremiah 15:16

When we find God's kingdom, we are willing to joyfully sell all that we have to buy it as if it were buried treasure (Mt 13:44). "The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of justice, peace, and the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit" (Rm 14:17). The joy of God's kingdom is indescribable (1 Pt 1:8), divine, and complete (Jn 15:11). This indescribable joy is far beyond what most people mean by "joy." Divine joy is always (Phil 4:4) and forever. This complete joy is not at all weakened by suffering. Rather, it reaches greater depths in suffering with Christ and for the Church (see Col 1:24; 1 Pt 4:13).

Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). No one can produce divine joy except the Holy Spirit. However the Spirit will not force this joy on us. We must freely decide to accept divine joy and the Holy Spirit on His terms. This often means being docile to the Spirit by renouncing ourselves more (Catechism, 736), crucifying our "flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). Otherwise, we will trade the chance to have divine, indescribable joy for momentary pleasures or comforts. Don't choose a lifestyle which will disqualify you from divine everlasting joy. Choose joy!

Prayer:  Father, I pray for You to send the Holy Spirit to renew my Baptism and Confirmation so as to produce divine joy in me forever.

Promise:  "If you repent, so that I restore you, in My presence you shall stand; if you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be My mouthpiece." —Jer 15:19

Praise:  Phil and Jean lost their son, a popular high-school athlete, in a car accident. They decided in prayer to reach out to the entire community to console and encourage the many unchurched mourners with the good news of resurrection in Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003