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Monday, March 31, 2014

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Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
John 4:43-54

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the joy of lent and life

"There shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create." —Isaiah 65:18

If the Lord creates a calling for you, you can find joy in it. If He calls you to life-long celibacy, you have cause for rejoicing. If the Lord gives you and your spouse ten children, rejoice in the sacrifice of having a large family. When He calls us to repent, we share in the great joy of heaven over one sinner who repents (Lk 15:7). When the Lord gives us the privilege of being persecuted for the Gospel, we should rejoice in the measure we share in His sufferings (1 Pt 4:13).

There's more joy in suffering with Jesus than in having pleasure without Him. True joy depends on only one thing: "Did the Lord create it? Is it His will?" Therefore, joy is not feeling good but obeying the Lord (see Ps 40:9). This makes it possible to rejoice always (1 Thes 5:16). No one and nothing can take our joy from us (Jn 16:22).

We can't always feel good but we can always obey God and thereby always rejoice. In fact, not only can we rejoice in the Lord but also rejoice with the divine joy of the Lord. We can actually have Jesus' joy (Jn 15:11). Moreover, this divine joy will be our strength (Neh 8:10).

"Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!" (Phil 4:4)

Prayer:  Father, this Lent may the joy in my life reach fever pitch (Acts 8:8).

Promise:  "He and his whole household thereupon became believers." —Jn 4:53

Praise:  The Rileys left a job, home, and security to move and join a Christian community.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013

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