Monday, December 23, 2013

“Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God.”

"When you got what you wanted, were you happy?" "Do you remember when you were a child, how ardently you looked forward to Christmas? How happy you thought you would be, with your fill of cakes, your hands glutted with toys, and your eyes dancing with the lights on the tree! Christmas came, and after you had eaten your fill, blown out the last Christmas candle, and played till your toys no longer amused, you climbed into your bed and said, in your own little heart of hearts, that somehow or other it did not quite come up to your expectations. And have you not lived that experience over a thousand times since?" - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Scripture text: (PS 25:4-5AB, 8-9, 10 AND 14)
R. (see Luke 21:28) Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

If we notice anything in today's world, it is that people are thirsting for the supreme goodness and love of the divine “Other”, who is the source of life itself. In countless ways, people are seeking happiness, and striving to find peace, security, and fulfillment.

However, they are often sadly unaware of how to attain the desire of their heart. This is especially evident during the season of Christmas when, influenced heavily by the frenetic quest of a consumerism gone awry, people are loading up on material gifts in an effort to experience a taste of the happiness they so crave. At the foundation of gift giving, the office parties and the celebrations, the bows and ribbons and toasts and rushing from place to place, is a deep, unquenchable thirst for happiness.

Do you want to be happy? As St. Teresa of Avila wrote, "Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices."

This is not a fairytale fantasy, but a reality made possible by the Son of God who became man in order that you might come to share in God's supernatural, divine life.

Does this mean you will never suffer? No. Recall how Christ suffered. The way to life everlasting is the cross. There is no other way. But even in the face of suffering there is joy because Christ gives you the gift of his Spirit, who overcomes and conquers your fear and suffering.

When God gifts you with his love, when he possesses you and you possess him, nothing can take that from you. Nothing but, of course, your own free choice.

Who will you choose this Christmas?

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