Monday, September 23, 2013

Encouraging Word Sept 23, 2013

“I got that Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay!”

     At first the Pope scared me last week with his message of de-emphasizing the top “hot” buttons the Church has right now, abortion, gay marriages, the Healthcare debates. It was after talking with my wonderful husband, (thank you, Michael) that he pointed out maybe Pope Francis is trying to get us all back to what our Catholic faith is about, Joy and Hope.

    Yes, all of those other things are important to keep fighting for, but if in the fight we lose sight of the Joy of our Catholic faith and the Hope that our faith can give us, then we might as well have lost the battle.

   What makes our Catholic Faith different from all other faiths?  Besides the fact that it is the one that can trace its roots directly to Christ, for two thousand years it has been the faith of joy and hope to people who were down trodden, slave, sick, disheartened, poor and lonely.  The Pope is calling us to live in Joy and Hope, not fear of what the world can do to us, not fear of what tomorrow might bring because we don’t know if tomorrow will come. We need to live in the joy and hope of our faith this very day.

   Jesus admonished the adulterous woman by simply saying to her, “Go and sin no more,” yet he condemned those people who were slanderous, telling them they are murdering their fellow men in their hearts when they hate and gossip.  Ouch, how many times have I slung oaths and curses at people simply because they get in my way or argue with me?  Are we no better than the Sadducees and Pharisees when we get angry and yell at those people who disagree with the Church’s teachings?  Aren’t we called to love?  Yes, we do not condone, but to let anger rule our faith life is no way to live our faith life.

   Satan plays on our righteous indignation; he knows exactly how to pull us out of our joyful, hopeful, peaceful selves by taunting us with occasions to get mad at the world and the events that unfold.  It is any different of a world than it was 2,000 years ago? People did evil things then too, but Jesus didn’t let that rock his boat and told his apostles to stay calm in the midst of the stormy seas.

   Our seas are pretty stormy now too, and I’ve slipped under the surface of the water trying to get to Jesus plenty of times. Like Peter, Jesus has had to stretch out his hand to me and say, okay, Lisa of little faith, I’ve gotten my Church through this before, I won’t abandon you now. Stop being angry, stop hurting with your words and thoughts!

   So let’s get our joyful back on and show the devil he can’t defeat us. We have God on our side!

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