Sunday, October 05, 2014

"Rejoice in the Lord Always!"

The Vatican Museum - Mural of the Eucharist

I found great joy in the Agnus Dei today, the Mass setting from the Mass of the Morning Star... The music remains for me a motif, a scent of a profound underlying beauty of the Faith made intensely personal. The very familiar notes remain with me and bind, in a way, my sorrow with His at the Mass. He is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. We do not make ourselves clean; "by His stripes we are healed." (cf. Isaiah 53:5)

And so this causes me to respond as St. Paul enjoins on us even until today: "Rejoice in the Lord always! Rejoice!" (cf. Philippians 5:4)

Even so, can joy be mixed with sorrow? YES! Because joy does not depend on us. It is a grace, as all good things are, from above. His joy is made complete with our participation; that is why we must participate both in the joy and recall it even when we face sorrow. The Cross did not eliminate sorrow or suffering... His sacrifice has given us a clarion call, a mustering point to which we have a duty and honor to observe—out of pure love of Him. When we make it about us, piousness grows hollow. When we search for joy without service, we become empty tombs of faltering, passing happiness. Love of Him in the Other cannot be ignored; if distraction appears it is an opportunity to deepen our commitment to the radical love of Christ—to go to the root of that love—that bears fruit that remains. Then we become the servants worthy of praise by the Father, for we have not divided against the Son. Rather, we have thus joined with Him in the work of the Vineyard. The Vineyard is the People of God, and we must labor no matter our state with Him if we are to share in His inheritance. Out of love for Him, we serve, and out of this love comes the everlasting joy that gives us hope in the present for a future secure in His love. May He ever deepen this gift to us for the good benefit of others.

Deo gratias!

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