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Posts Tagged ‘joy’


Matthew 5:4 and Luke 6:21: Mourningmourning angel

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: When you sink into deepest grief, remember me – for I am with you. When you believe you will never smile again, remain in me – for I live in you. When the darkness is so dense that the light of hope struggles to pierce it, call on me – for I am that light that no darkness can hold back. The prophets foretold and my son retells you that your mourning will become dancing. The psalmist reminds you that those who go out weeping as they carry seed to sow will also return with triumphant sheaves of joy.

As part of our Beatitudes thanksgiving, let us consider how we might bring the gift of presence to someone who mourns the loss of a person, employment, or a lifestyle.

nilmdts_logo1Find out more about the NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) organization, a group of photographers whose mission is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Visit: https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/

Tomorrow, hunger and thirst.


Image from: http://galleryhip.com/mourning.html

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Habakkuk 2:3-4: The Delayimpatienceordivineanticipationb1

First Sunday in Lent, March 6, 2022

In this Lenten season, we witness to the presence of Christ in our daily routine. In this time of introspection, we welcome the Spirit into the temple of our hearts. In this time of healing and re-making, we thank God for the gifts of grace and mercy and patience. In this time of transformation, we come to understand the essence of our Lenten delay.

If it delays, wait for it . . .

Like small children, we want all our woes and anxieties resolved within seconds of their borning; like small children we must learn that waiting in joyful anticipation brings the gift of wisdom.

It will surely come . . .

Like energetic teenagers, we easily slip into the thinking that the multiverse holds us at its center; like energetic teenagers we reluctantly admit that our way is not always God’s way.

It will not be late . . .

Like impatient adults, we ask the world to move at our singular command; like impatient adults we come to see that the common good is more valuable in God’s eyes than our individual desire.

The rash one has no integrity . . .

In our Lenten journey we come to understand – if we are open – that God is present in misery just as in joy.

But the just one, because of faith, will live . . .

In our Lenten passage we come to know – if we are open – that God’s delay is part of God’s plan.

As we move through this second full week of Lent, let us take all of our impatience and anxiety, all of our anger and frustration to the one who mends and heals all wounds. And let us – like Jesus – make a willing sacrifice of our waiting as we anticipate in joyful hope God’s fulfillment of our great delay.


Image from: http://vividlife.me/ultimate/6328/impatience-or-divine-anticipation/

Enter the word Habakkuk into the blog search bar to explore other reflections on the wisdom brought to us through the words of this prophet.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022evergreen in snow

Psalm 147:12-20

Praise

Tomorrow we begin the season of Lent, a time when the earth shifts moods with the changing seasons. In the northern hemisphere the promise of spring and the Easter Passion hover amid the snow-covered trees while all of creation anticipates new burgeoning and promise. In the southern hemisphere autumn prepares us for winter as we gather harvests, snug in and burrow down, resting in the nurturing strength of the covenant promise. No matter our mood or circumstance, Lent offers us an opportunity to renew, re-touch, and re-encounter the risen Christ. Lent gives us a way to examine and re-define. Lent brings us a fresh wind and a new heart. Today we pray with Psalm 147 as we prepare for Lent, and look forward to the fulfillment of the Good News.

Glorify the Lord and offer praise to your God . . .

Today we give thanks for both our blessings and obstacles, realizing that grace arrives with our sufferings as well as our joys.

Who has strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within you . . . ?

Today we give thanks for our progeny and our future, looking forward to the events that bring us into union with God.

Who has brought peace to your borders, and filled you with finest wheat . . . ?

Today we give thanks for all the harvests in our lives, for the opportunity to both give and receive God’s plenty that graces the earth.

The Lord sends a command to earth; God’s word runs swiftly! Snow is spread like wool, frost is scattered like ash, hail is dispersed like crumbs; before such cold the waters freeze. Again the Lord sends God’s word and they melt; the wind is unleashed and the waters flow . . .

National Geographic: Night sky in Patagonia, Argentina

National Geographic: Night sky in Patagonia, Argentina

And so, we pray,

Today we give thanks for all that we receive, knowing that we are asked to share these gifts from the Lord. Today we give thanks for all that we experience, knowing that we are called to love one another. Today we give thanks for all that is to come, knowing that The Lord has peace and joy in great store for us. Today, with all of creation, we give thanks and praise to God. Amen.

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.


For everyday words of encouragement, click on the evergreen tree above or visit: http://everydayencouragement.org/2014/02/23/god-bends-down-to-hear-your-prayers/

For more beautiful images from National Geographic, click on the image of the night sky in Patagonia, or visit: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/tree-stars-patagonia/

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Monday, January 24, 2022

Daniel 12

Dimensions

Daniel 12: 3: The wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmamement, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.

Daniel 12: 3: The wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever and ever.

“Daniel’s apocalyptic view of history is most fully laid out in Chapters 10-12, which make up one long vision. There an angel explains to Daniel that there is an ongoing battle in heaven between the archangels Michael and Gabriel on the one hand and the angelic “princes” of Persia and Greece on the other. This battle is reflected on earth in the wars of the Hellenistic age, which are described at length in Chapter 11 . . . At the end Michael will arise in victory and the resurrection will follow”. (Senior RG 349)

Apocalyptic writing was popular in the centuries before and after Jesus’ birth and although it is characterized by symbolism and descriptions of cataclysmic events, it is rooted in the teachings of the prophets. Dire circumstances and extreme conditions experienced by the Jewish people provided fertile ground for early writers as they warned, predicted and called the remnant people to fidelity. Living in times of hopelessness and desperation, the faithful took heart as they heard the stories of rescue, redemption and salvation. These images laid the groundwork for the genesis of Christianity, and Jesus’ introduction of the work of discipleship.

Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall be proven wicked, none of them shall have understanding, but the wise shall have it. (Daniel 12:10)

Jesus describes the life of a disciple clearly in his Sermon on the Mount:  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Daniel 12:12: Blessed is the one who has patience and perseveres . . .

Jesus tells a parable of the persistent widow who patiently returns to a corrupt judge, asking endlessly for justice. Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart . . . (Luke 18:1-8)

Daniel 12:13: Go, take your rest, you shall rise for your reward . . .

Jesus asks us that to give him our worries and anxieties that are too great for us to bear. Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

sleep in the dustThis portion of Daniel’s prophecy brings a new perspective of an old vision. Battle between good and evil are not new. But what Daniel brings us is the foreshadowing of a new and wonderful reason for hope and joy. Daniel opens up for us a new dimension. The world of joy born out of pain, of celebration rising from sorrow, and of new hope burgeoning from old wounds.

When we spend time with Daniel 12 today, we see new light leading us into a world of new dimension.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 149. Print.   

For more reflections on this prophecy, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore. 

Image from: http://thewellsacramento.org/?p=689

 

 

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Photo by Moyan Brenn

Photo by Moyan Brenn

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Psalm 37:4

Joy and Happiness

Today’s post is the last in a series in which we visited scripture looking for stories about joy. These tales may have surprised us in a number of ways. We may have found our personal invitation to a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Perhaps we have been fed by the stories of God’s love and joy in our existence.  Or perhaps we have felt the Spirit’s joy that heals, calls and binds us together. In this concluding reflection, we gather our thoughts on joy from the last several months, and we contemplate how it is that despite travail and suffering, joy continues to sustain the human race.

Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord; and God will give you the desires of your heart.

In recent years the topic of sustainable happiness has piqued the interest of many and two authors, Joe Loizzo and Sarah Van Gelder, have both written books on the subject. YES! Magazine publishes articles on the subject every few years and their website hosts pages “Peace and Justice,” “Planet,” “New Economy,” “People Power,” and “Happiness”. There is always interest in how to find and maintain a happy, balanced life style. Given current world events, we might imagine that more of us will be looking for the source and nourishment of happiness, and some of us might be surprised to find amazingly simple answers to what we believe are complex questions.

We have just completed a journey through scripture looking for the many times and places that joy has surprised the human race; and we have seen that while we assume that joy accompanies celebration, she is always found in times of great pain and great loss. Indeed, happiness is most intense in the deepest darkness; and her sister joy is most healing when our wounds are deepest. Spend time today exploring sustainable happiness. Listen to On Being podcasts of conversations with the Dalai Lama and others as they discuss the concept and experience of happiness. When we allow joy to settle into our hearts and take up residence in our very bones . . . we too, will know the real meaning of lasting and sustaining joy.


For more on sustainable joy, visit: http://sustainablehappinessbook.com/ and http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice

For thoughts from Sarah van Gelder, click on the image above or visit: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/7-ways-to-get-happy-without-costing-the-planet

Visit the On Being site at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/pursuing-happiness-dalai-lama/147

joyIf this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

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3.3-1_Goodall_The_BrideSaturday, January 22, 2022

Joy and Union

John

We are invited into a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Jesus offers friendship that is personal, immediate and joyful. Today we remember that Christ is the groom and that we are his bride. And we consider how God’s incredible love calls and binds us together.

John the Baptizer recognizes that his joy increases when he finds union with others in and through Christ.

1-3-rebecca_at_wellThe Bride and Groom John 3:25-30: There arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.

Jesus tells us that the union we seek with him – the union we already have if we might recognize it – is the sole source of lasting and satisfying joy.

grapes71The Vine and the Branches – John 15:11: These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Jesus reminds us that his joy is complete in us and that as we turn over the cares of the world to him our joy will increase. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches; he sustains and we celebrate and bear fruit. Our pruning strengthens us and brings us closer to God. Our fidelity and persistence bring us the reward of God’s genuine and enduring joy.

This is the Good News John brings us. Today we might consider how we will share this joy with others.


Click on the image of the bride above to learn more about women in ancient times, or visit: http://www.womeninthebible.net/3.2.Major_Events.htm

joyOther images from: https://jesuskinginexile.wordpress.com/page/4/ and http://rgonce.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-vine-and-branches.html

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

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mini-nativity-kate-cosgroveFriday, January 21, 2022

Joy and Resurrection

Luke

We are invited into a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Jesus offers friendship that is personal, immediate and joyful. Today we consider how God’s amazing generosity continues to sustain us.

Luke’s Gospel has many calls to joy and the first arise from Jesus’ arrival among us.

The Christmas Invitation Luke 2:10: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people”.

God’s messenger reminds us that we need not be afraid for we are always accompanied by joy . . . even when we might not perceive it.

Reward  Luke 6:22-23: Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.

joyIn his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that we will find joy in the darkest of places . . . even when we do not welcome the darkness.

Repentance  Luke 15:3-7: So Jesus told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

In his Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus reminds us that great joy can arrive after great error . . . even if we believe this is not so.

tomb-2Resurrection  Luke 24:41-42: While his disciples still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of a broiled fish; and he took it and ate it before them.

When he returns after death, Jesus continues to feed his people . . . even when we do not recognize him.

Luke reminds us that Jesus comes not only to heal and sustain us in this world but forever. This is good news indeed, and today we consider how we might share and celebrate this news with great joy.


If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Images from: http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/nativity/all and http://kentwoodchristianchurch.com/easter-sermon-2011-the-tomb

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Gerard van Honthorst: The Nativity

Gerard van Honthorst: The Nativity

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Joy and Witness

Matthew

Yesterday we reflected on words from the Apostles whose relationship with Christ was personal, immediate and joyful. Today we consider how we might join these disciples to witness to God’s incomparable goodness.

Matthew tells us that Jesus is Emmanuel, God among us. He announces the coming of great joy.

The Christmas Miracle Matthew 2:10: When the magi saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Matthew records Jesus’ description of heaven as a hidden reassure. He announces the unfolding of deep joy.

joyHidden TreasureMatthew 13:44: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew records Jesus’ parable of stewardship. He announces the unfolding of the kingdom’s joy.

The Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:19-21: Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, “Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents”. His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”.

Matthew reminds us of the resurrection miracle. He announces the promise of our own profound joy.

emptytombgraveclothesAt the Tomb – Matthew 28:8: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to Jesus’ disciples.

We are called to witness to God’s promises, to Jesus’ intercession, and to the Spirit’s healing. What will we do today to pass along the Good News and joy in Matthew’s story?


If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gerard_van_Honthorst_001.jpg and http://quoteeveryday.com/easter-tomb-background/

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??????Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Joy and Testimony

From the first verses of Genesis to the last words of Revelation, we have explored the many ways our God delights in surprising us with joy; and we have seen that God is always with us healing, rescuing, restoring and transforming. Through narratives, chronicles, prophecies, poems, songs and psalms, God finds a way to bring joy into the darkest moments of our lives. We have visited a list of calamities, catastrophes, outrages and scourges to find that even in the face of so much evil there is the promise of joy in living in Christ. No matter the turmoil, deceit, conspiracy, suspicion, tears or desperation, the Spirit is present to sustain us. Through misery and intrigue, arrogance and folly we have found a reason to celebrate. Today, the apostles who know Jesus most intimately describe their incomparable joy in knowing the risen Christ and they share this joy with us. How might we share our own stories of God’s surprising joy with those who look for peace?

2 John 1:12: Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

1 Peter 1:8: Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

Galatians 5:22: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

James 1:2: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.

Jude 1: 24-25: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.


joyIf this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Image from: http://masspictures.net/joy-quotes/

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