Heavenly Father, I look to you with great confidence as I set out this week to walk the
path to Calvary accompanying your Beloved Son on his way to redeeming us. I know this period is an
opportunity to see my difficulties and trials as ways to conform my life better to that of your Son.
Here I am Lord, ready and desiring to learn from you and imitate you.
Lord Jesus, let my thirst for happiness
be quenched by your love.
1. The Search for Happiness:
Everyone is passionately fond of liberty, but
there is one thing we crave even more, and without which existence and even liberty is painful:
happiness. It is one of life's greatest paradoxes that as much as people seek to be free, they still
wish to be a slave; not a slave in the sense that their liberty is denied to them, but in the sense
that they yearn for something they can worship, something that will solicit their will, pull at
their heartstrings, tempt their energies and command their affections. They want to be free to
choose between various kinds of happiness, but they do not want to be free from happiness; they wish
to be its slave.
2. Two Ways:
There are two ways of responding to this hunger of the soul and this thirst of the heart:
one is the way of the world, the other is the way of Christ. Before we indulge in the pleasures of
the world, they seem desirable and appear to be all that we will need to make us happy. But after we
have them, they become disappointing and sometimes even disgusting. The contrary is true of the
pleasures of Christ. Before we have them, they are hard, unattractive, and even repulsive. But after
we possess them, they are satisfying and become all our heart could ever desire.
3. Jesus Christ Is the Answer:
What the world
deems success is really failure and unhappiness. What the world deems failure and defeat is really
success and victory. This reality is played out in Our Lord's Passion. Jesus is the happiness we
seek and the answer to all our desires. His way is the way of the cross, and therefore, as his
followers, we must follow the same path. Jesus assures us that the poor shall not always be poor;
the crucified shall not be always on a cross; the poor shall be rich; the lowly shall be exalted;
those who sow in tears shall reap in joy; those who mourn shall be comforted; and those who suffer
with Christ shall reign with him. In the words of the poet Francis Thompson, Christ says to you,
"All which I took from thee I did but take, not for thy harms, but just that thou might'st seek it
in my arms. All which thy child's mistake fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home: Rise,
clasp my hand, and come!"
Conversation with Christ:
Jesus, come and be the king of my heart. During this week of your
Passion I want to grow in my love
and appreciation for you and all
you do for me. Help me with your grace to be a faithful follower
and give me the strength to take up my cross with
love and generosity.
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