I love when you can tell in a speaker's face and tone of voice that they have the "Joy of the Lord". Fr. Barron recently had a video response to someone asking about how to get joy and he said it comes from the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith.
I don't disagree with him, but think more so it comes from the Holy Spirit active in one's soul such that one is aware how much God the Father loves us, to have not spared his Beloved Son, and how much Jesus the Son of God loves us so as to become our ransom.
Can't understand why or how it had to be this way, but the love is clear, and the mercy as well. The Catholic faith, founded by Jesus, upon the rock that is Peter teaches us the Gospel truth that "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
What else does the Catholic faith teach us? What do we learn from our saints?
I think we learn that the joy of the Lord comes from relationship.
Lent is about the three disciplines - prayer, fasting, and almsgiving . . . but the reason for them, what is it? Is it reparation for our sins and the sins of others that were the reason Jesus had to leave the glory of heaven and become incarnate, suffer the cruelty and the most painful torments and death? Yes, but more so it is reparation in love of God, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit that creates us anew and transforms us with divine love to more closely resemble our Savior.
Love because we are loved more than we can grasp. Love because the one who loves us is closer than our breath. He is near. He is here.
Love Him! Hear the saints, angels, prophets, martyrs . . . hear his Holy Mother tell you to love Him. Love Him and love him in others, because he is pretty clear about that in Matthew 25: 31-46, but also because Blessed Mother Teresa has taught us that he is there in the poorest of the poor.
Please pray with me that God's grace would be in abundance during these 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting and Almsgiving, that we might all grow closer in communion with God, that our relationship with God would deepen. Our love for Christ would be more tender, and our gratitude and service directed toward serving Him, and that we would leave anxiety behind and replace it, through the grace of God, with trust in God's Providence and Power. May we find Him often in scripture, in the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist, and Confession, and in prayer unceasing. May we converse and listen. May we show love to Him by showing love to those in our homes and in our workplaces and churches.
Jesus says that one who welcomes a child welcomes him.
"Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me." Mark 9:37
Pray also that many women, many parents whether their child is planned or unplanned, a perceived blessing, or a frightening crisis, that they will welcome the child on Christ's behalf, welcoming Him, and depending on God in his Providence to provide for them and the child.
If you are going to be praying anyway, why not join us one day a month, or more often praying outside an abortion clinic. Join us now during the 40 Days Campaign, but consider joining us even after it concludes as well. We know from Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood manager, that the number of no-show appointments increases by 75% when there are people outside the clinics praying. So please, pray! Sometimes you hear about "saves" but we won't know until heaven the number of mothers who drove by when they saw people outside praying, and what the Holy Spirit's grace did inside of her heart to help her find an alternative - to either find God's help through a crisis pregnancy center, or if she felt so led, to give her child for adoption.
Personally I didn't plan to be out there it just "kind of happened". I feel really compelled to be out there now. It has an intensity to it. Other things I do are intense - my job, coaching high school basketball . . . but this intensity seems more focused, more in line with what God wants me to be doing on a given Saturday morning. Sometimes I regret getting so worked up about a basketball game or a blown call inside of a basketball game, but I never regret the intensity of emotion, prayer and simple presence outside of a clinic, even though someone recently told me it was "an incredibly cruel thing to do".
The irony is not hard to find on that one, is it?