Can I be happy, as I face the cross?
Devotional/Discussion thought of the day….
1 Thessalonians 5:13 (Phillips NT) 13 Live together in peace, and our instruction to this end is to reprimand the unruly, encourage the timid, help the weak and be very patient with all men. Be sure that no one repays a bad turn by a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large. Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ.
With crystal clarity I see the formula, the secret of happiness, both earthly and eternal. It is not just a matter of accepting the Will of God but of embracing it, of identifying oneself with it – in a word, of loving the Divine Will with a positive act of our own will. This, I repeat, is the infallible secret of joy and peace. (1)
On this Monday of Holy Week – as the Crucifix looms on the horizon, as we look at the sin and injustice in this world, as we contemplate its score and the evil that is manifested in it, as we realize the pain embraced by Jesus Christ as all of that sin was laid upon Him, and God the Father let the wrath it deserved loose on him, I have another phrase for you – taken fron St. Paul’s advice to the church that was being persecuted in Thessalonika.
Or as some translations put it, REJOICE ALWAYS!
Even as we look at the Cross? At its brutality, and at the black sin which caused it?
Yeah – pretty much.
Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus endured that cross – for the joy set before Him, the joy of being reunited with His adopted brothers and sisters, the joy on the Father’s face, as the Father rejoices over the prodigals coming home! What joy there is to be found in that cross – where the passionate will of God was revealed to us all. That God was willing to give it all up – to endure such pain, to pour out such wrath….
That we would be His people, His children, His beloved!
Even in the midst of suffering, in the midst of trauma, even if in the midst of boredom, we can embrace God’s will, we can see the cross and intuitively know the depth of His love. When we do, there is a joy that comes about – for we realize that His promises are true, His presence is real, that we are not alone.
The secret is not avoiding things that are tough, not avoiding the trials – but making sure we know God’s love, in the midst of them.
And we will know peace, and comfort, and yeah – happiness.
This week – as we set our eyes on the cross – and the crucifixion of our Lord – may we see the joy that He saw, and realize we are with Him.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3547-3550). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.