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Joy and Sirach – Rest


finding restSaturday

December 20, 2014

Joy and Sirach 6

Rest

Today we come to the end of the wisdom recorded by Jesus ben Sirach, the last of the Wisdom Books offered by the ancients; and we discover that all we need to know about finding wisdom is within. All we need do is rest in the wisdom of the Lord . . . and in this we find great joy. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter wisdom or joy, click on those words in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today we determine to rest in wisdom, to rest, to rest in wisdom, to rest in the Lord.

Reflecting on Sirach’s description of wisdom, we pause with these verses from Chapter 6 (18-37) Click on the scripture link and compare different versions of these words and rest in the Wisdom that speaks within.

My child, from your youth choose discipline;
    and when you have gray hair you will find wisdom.

As though plowing and sowing, draw close to her;
    then wait for her bountiful crops.
For in cultivating her you will work but little,
    and soon you will eat her fruit.

She is rough ground to the fool!

To encounter true wisdom we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this can be as difficult as plowing a spring field after the ice and snow of winter.

The stupid cannot abide Wisdom.
She will be like a burdensome stone to them,
    and they will not delay in casting her aside.

For discipline is like her name,
    she is not accessible to many.

Listen, my child, and take my advice;
    do not refuse my counsel.

Put your feet into her fetters,
    and your neck under her yoke.

Bend your shoulders and carry her
    and do not be irked at her bonds.

To encounter true wisdom we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this can be as difficult as bending our necks in obedience to a plan that is not of our making.

joyWith all your soul draw close to Wisdom;
    and with all your strength keep her ways.
Inquire and search, seek and find;
    when you get hold of her, do not let her go.
Thus at last you will find rest in her,
    and she will become your joy.

Her fetters will be a place of strength;
    her snare, a robe of spun gold.
Her yoke will be a gold ornament;
    her bonds, a purple cord.

You will wear her as a robe of glory,
    and bear her as a splendid crown.

To encounter true wisdom we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and we will discover that the yoke we thought a burden has become a source of joy.

If you wish, my son, you can be wise;
    if you apply yourself, you can be shrewd.
If you are willing to listen, you can learn;
    if you pay attention, you can be instructed.

Stand in the company of the elders;
    stay close to whoever is wise.
Be eager to hear every discourse;
    let no insightful saying escape you.
If you see the intelligent, seek them out;
    let your feet wear away their doorsteps!

Reflect on the law of the Most High,
    and let God’s commandments be your constant study.
Then God will enlighten your mind,
    and make you wise as you desire.

To encounter true wisdom we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this will fill us with such great joy that we will be moved to share it with others.

Choose another chapter from the Book of Sirach, compare the verses in different Bible versions, and allow God’s wisdom and joy to fill you in this time of Advent waiting.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Joy and Sirach – Honor


parentsFriday

December 19, 2014

Joy and Sirach 3

Honor

Continuing with wisdom recorded by Jesus ben Sirach, we find more words that surprise us with joy. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, enter the word Joy in the blog search bar, or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today we consider the great joy that is found when we honor wisdom.

In this Chapter, Ben Sirach writes about family relationships, humility, docility, and the giving of alms to the poor. In all of this lies the quiet theme of honor.

Verse 3:5: Those who honor their parents will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they are heard.

joyGod says: Some of you have no children born from your union with another; yet you provide the wisdom of elders to many. Some of you have never known your parents; yet you honor those who have served you well as mentors and guides. Many of you have siblings who love your parents as you do and siblings who are jealous of your relationship with your parents. There is not a singular model for family life in the many cultures that blossom around the world, but there is a singular path to follow in finding joy. Through your humble service to others you honor me and bring honor to your family. Through your quiet, docile care of the poor you gladden others and bring joy to me.  

Choose more of these verses and reflect on them, considering how often honor and wisdom are present in your own family. Compare the different versions of Sirach 3 at the scripture link above and reflect on Jesus Ben Sirach’s words.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/


fortitudeThursday

December 18, 2014

Joy and Sirach 1

Fortitude

Moving into a wisdom book written by Jesus ben Sirach, we find more words that surprise us with joy. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, enter the word Joy in the blog search bar, or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today we consider the great joy that is found in Wisdom’s fortitude.

Yesterday we considered Wisdom’s companions of prudence, moderation, righteousness and fortitude. These qualities bring us more than serenity; they offer us a pathway to discipleship in Christ. They offer us immortal life.

Verse 1:12: Fear of the Lord rejoices the heart, giving gladness, joy, and long life.

joyGod says: “Fear of the Lord” is really about your love for me. I do not want you to tremble in fear of punishment; rather, I want you to tremble in great joy and anticipation of spending time with me. I want you to stand in awe of my great love for you. Do you know how much happiness you bring to me? Do you understand that I spend every moment of eternity waiting for you, calling to you, rescuing you, restoring you? Do you believe that I am everywhere at all times lifting you, healing you, transforming you? When you practice prudence and moderation you will feel my presence. When you humble yourself in righteousness you will know my wisdom. When you persist with my fortitude you will be my wisdom. Come, live in me today . . . and share my goodness with others. 

Choose more of these verses and reflect on them, considering how often you invite Wisdom into your heart and home. Compare the different versions of Sirach 1 at the scripture link above and reflect on Jesus Ben Sirach’s words.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/


Psalm-1001Wednesday

December 17, 2014

Joy and Wisdom 8

Gladness

As we continue reflecting on joy in the Bible’s Wisdom Books, today we examine the Book of Wisdom itself. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today we consider the great joy that is found in Wisdom.

From the first verse in Chapter 8 we are told of the benefits of abiding in Wisdom rather than relying on our own resources. Indeed, Wisdom spans the world from end to end mightily and governs all things well. Wisdom is often accompanied by her companions: prudence, moderation, righteousness and fortitude. When we focus on these qualities rather than our impulses, we put aside bitterness and as we gain wisdom. When we moderate our actions, we allow wisdom to govern our emotions. When we live by God’s righteousness rather than a code we have invented, we invite wisdom into our hearts. And when we rely on God’s fortitude to carry us beyond and over life’s hurdles, we find that wisdom has made her home within us.

joyVerse 8:16: Entering my house, I shall take my repose beside Wisdom; for association with her involves no bitterness and living with her no grief, but rather joy and gladness.

Choose more of these wonderful verses and reflect on them, considering how often you invite Wisdom into your heart and home. Compare the different versions of Wisdom at the scripture link above and reflect on how well Wisdom guides us, how much Wisdom prepares us, and how often Wisdom sustains and rescues us.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/


king-solomon

King Solomon

Tuesday

December 16, 2014

Joy and Songs

Celebration

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and today we see joy in the event of King Solomon’s marriage. When we read the full story of this man’s life we come to understand that although he demonstrated so much, and although much of God’s promise is fulfilled in him, this promise deteriorates, and at his death the kingdom that Solomon and his father pulled together begins to unravel.

If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

It is so very easy to be joy-filled when all is going well; and yet . . . is it? A famous comedienne once commented that after honors were distributed for a unique award she had earned and the celebration ended, she went home and put a load of laundry in the clothes washer. She realized that the trappings of fame were not nearly as important to her as the simple joy of tending to her children and husband. Let us remember that when we have few hurdles to overcome and we find ourselves in the easy place of joy, we must weigh out accolades to put them in proper perspective. Perhaps this is what Solomon does today as he appears for his wedding procession as the beautiful Song of Songs describes.

joyVerses 3:10-11: Solomon made the columns of his litter of silver,
    its roof of gold,
Its seat of purple cloth,
    its interior lovingly fitted.
Daughters of Jerusalem, go out
    and look upon King Solomon
In the crown with which his mother has crowned him
    on the day of his marriage,
    on the day of the joy of his heart.

Select more of these beautiful verses and ponder them, considering your own marriage relationship with Christ. Compare the different versions of Songs at the scripture link above and reflect on how well God loves us, how much God guides us, and how much God heals and restores.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

 


main_joy_0Monday

December 15, 2014

Joy and 

Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

Compensation

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and for the next few days we spend time with Ecclesiastes, verses that focus on the purpose and value of human life. Joy in merit, material wealth, pleasure of every kind evades the human race when chased. The mystery is that truly fulfilling and lasting joy comes upon us when we least expect it – and when we find ourselves in the most trying of circumstances. If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today we wonder why joy appears to accompany the wicked rather than the just.

It is so very difficult to be joy-filled when our world is falling apart. When cataclysm strikes, the faithful bend forward into the Lord, relying on God’s strength, wisdom, courage and stamina. And yet, the wisdom imparted to us today says precisely that when we cannot understand the complexities of our universe, we move forward as best we can . . . and we rely on God’s joy that somehow arrives even in the darkness. This is the message of this third week in Advent: when it is darkest, God is nearest.

joyVerse 8:15: Therefore I praised joy, because there is nothing better for mortals under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be joyful; this will accompany them in their toil through the limited days of life God gives them under the sun.

Compare the MESSAGE version of this passage at the scripture link above that includes verse 14: Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke. So, I’m all for just going ahead and having a good time – the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time – compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth.

God says: This advice sounds like the hedonistic refrain to “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die!” But it is not. Read these verses in the context of the whole and you will find that they speak to the human condition. It is true that many times it appears that the wicked receive the gifts meant for the faithful. It is also true that dreadful things happen to good people. What is also true is that the plan of the universe is quite complex. And it is also true that I know every step you take, every wakeful moment of the night that you pass, every injustice you suffer. Remember that I am with you in those dark times just as I am in the happy ones, and that joy accompanies you always although you may not discern it.

Spend some time today remembering the times when you have been treated unfairly. Jot down a few words on a piece of paper that describe the dark feelings you experienced. This may be a simple list like: alone, betrayed, misunderstood, attacked, and so on. On the reverse side of this paper, write the word JOY. In this way we ask God to convert our sorrow into joy. Seek professional help for feelings of depression or suicide. Gather friends around you who will treat you with the care God wants to lavish on you. Place your JOY petition in your Bible, in a prayer-book, or in a special prayer basket set aside as a cradle for your sorrow. Imagine the Christ child arriving to sleep in this crib . . . and give all your anxiety to him.

At noon each day, the petitions of The Noontimes readers are remembered in prayer. May God’s serenity guide you, may the Christ child’s humility sustain you, and may the peace of the Spirit dwell within you at this very special time of year. Amen.

For interesting ways to handle stress, to find a balance in life, to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and to find joy in living, click on the image above, or go to the Complete Health News site at: http://www.completehealthnews.com/interesting-ways-to-find-joy-life/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/


nativity-of-christThird Sunday of Advent

December 14, 2014

Joy and 

Ecclesiastes 5:17-19

Vanity

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and for the next few days we spend time with Ecclesiastes, verses that focus on the purpose and value of human life. Joy in merit, material wealth, pleasure of every kind evades the human race when chased. The mystery is that truly fulfilling and lasting joy comes upon us when we least expect it – and when we find ourselves in the most trying of circumstances. If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today joy surprises us when we find ourselves overwhelmed by the world’s vanities.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is often remembered for its opening words: Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! Through centuries we humans have sought the mystery of joy and continue to find that try joy arrives with most impact in times of sorrow or loss. We are constantly learning that we cannot earn joy; rather, joy finds us when we most need and appreciate it.

Ecclesiastes 5:17-19: Here is what I see as good: It is appropriate to eat and drink and prosper from all the toil one toils at under the sun during the limited days of life God gives us; for this is our lot. Those to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that they receive their lot and find joy in the fruits of their toil: This is a gift from God. For they will hardly dwell on the shortness of life, because God lets them busy themselves with the joy of their heart.

joyCompare the MESSAGE version of this passage at the scripture link above that begins with verse 13: Here’s a piece of bad luck I’ve seen happen: A man hoards far more wealth than is good for him and then loses it all in a bad business deal. He fathered a child but hasn’t a cent left to give him. He arrived naked from the womb of his mother; he’ll leave in the same condition—with nothing. This is bad luck, for sure—naked he came, naked he went. So what was the point of working for a salary of smoke? Continue reading and allow the Word to resonate within until the mystery of finding joy in misery rather than in our stockpiled treasures begins to speak in our hearts. Consider that all joy is a gift from God, shows us God’s presence, and lifts, sustains and renews us . . . without our even asking.

In some Christian traditions, the Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Enter the word Gaudete into the blog search bar and reflect on the nourishing joy that comes from God to renew and sustain us in the darkest of days. Find out more about Gaudete Sunday at this link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06394b.htm

While reflecting, listen to the Medieval Latin Carol Gaudete arranged by Michael McGlynn and sung by ANÚNA posted on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbKWk6RzaiM  As the ancient words resonate, allow them to awaken joy within . . . Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary! The light, the truth, the healer, the Word is among us. 

This week, let us look for joy in a controversial issue that consumes our local or global world. It may be a topic that reverberates through the global community or it may be a problem that you share with a few friends, family members or neighbors. No matter the range or depth of this concern, turn it over in light of the week’s Noontime readings and allow the joy that is hidden in great darkness to spring upon you.

Visit the ANÚNA site at: http://www.anuna.ie/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

For the lyrics to the carol Gaudete and another music video, click on the Nativity image above or visit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/12/gaudetechristus-est-natus/ 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.781. Print.   


Good-NewsSaturday

December 13, 2014

Joy and Proverbs

Good News

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we celebrate the joy of Good News.

In this second week of Advent we have found joy in dark places as we share proverbs. Today we remind ourselves that the hope of the Old Testament is fulfilled in the Word of the New Testament. And we remember that Jesus, God Among Us, is the incarnation of that promise and word.

Proverbs 15:23: One has joy from an apt response; a word in season, how good it is!

We have the choice each day to speak words that hurt or words that heal.

Matthew 4:23: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

We have the choice each day to speak words that burden us or words that uplift.

joyMark 1:14: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.

We have the choice each day to speak words that bring energy or words that sap strength.

Proverbs 15:30: A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones.

We have the choice each day to speak words that speak truth or words that lie.

Luke 8:1: Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.

We have the choice each day to speak words of Good News or words of darkness.

Mark 16:15: And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”.

We continue our Advent journey, and today we pause to consider the power of God’s joy when we share the Good News that God has come to live among us.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/


foolishFriday, December 12, 2014

Joy and Proverbs

Folly

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in folly.

During this second week in Advent we continue to share simple verses from Proverbs that bring us joy in surprising ways.

Verse 15:21: Folly is joy to the senseless, but the person of understanding goes the straight way.

joyGod says: False joy is present everywhere and it parades itself as serenity and wisdom. False joy is expressed by those who deny the truth that stands before them, or by those who close eyes and ears to the pleas of the poor and abused. False joy constructs bubble worlds and faerie castles of perfection to protect yourselves from reality. This false joy is folly and it is practiced by those who trust themselves more than they trust me, and by those who put aside prudence. When you find yourselves among fools, place your trust in me and move forward with caution and mercy. Rely on my wisdom rather than your own. Walk in the way my son has shown you. Allow my Spirit to abide in you and respond to her voice. When you clothe yourselves in prudence you not only resist folly . . . you allow your actions to speak in a way that words cannot. And you provide a lesson for the foolish who are ready to be transformed in me.

Use a Bible Concordance and look for Jesus’ words about prudence and folly.

Tomorrow, joy in the Good News!

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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