“It doesn’t matter really how great the pressure is; it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord–then, the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast.” (Hudson Taylor)
I keep a number of encouraging and important personal papers in the zipper pouch of my bible cover. They are easily accessible for me to pull out and look at whenever I wish. But here’s a great idea, too.
“I find that joy can be overwhelmed. Just as a migraine can ruin a picnic, painful happenings can eclipse joy. In a hard time recently, I remembered a friend’s grandmother showing me her ‘joy safe,’ a wooden box in which she kept things that connected her with joy and reminded her of God’s presence. I started my own box last week with two things: a button from the uniform my father wore when he came safely home from war and a note from a grandchild who had been kept back in third grade: ‘Grandma! I got all A’s. I’m gonna make it.'” (Patricia Livingston)
What would you put in your joy safe to help you remember God’s presence in your life?
“Jesus moves among men and women–even if it means passing through doors locked from within”
Fr. William M. Joensen
Many of us frequently–or continually–bolt the doors of our hearts from within, yet we long for Christ to come to us. We can have great hope . . . for He is the One who can enter “through doors locked from within.”
~Sr. Dorcee Clarey “Witnesses to Hope”
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
John 20: 19-20
We’re bolted in alright, to ensure we’re safe from confronting our greatest fears and our most fervent longing.
But there is no lock or latch…
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One of the things I love about the week after Easter is that the Church relates to each day of the octave as though it is Easter Day. In the Preface of Easter I, the priest is directed to pray during the octave: “We praise you with greater joy than ever on this Easter day when Christ became our paschal sacrifice.” (Unfortunately most of the priests where I attend daily Mass pray “in this Easter season.”) In the Liturgy of the Hours, we pray Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer of Easter Day all week. To me this is a foretaste of heaven when each day will be as the first. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!”
I always find this kind of reflection on the Easter appearances full of great hope for folks like me: “Jesus moves among men and women–even if it means passing through doors locked from within” (Jn 20.19-23). (Fr. William M. Joensen) Many of us frequently–or continually–bolt the doors of our hearts from within, yet we long for Christ to come to us. We can have great hope . . . for He is the One who can enter “through doors locked from within.”
Some of us can wake up on Easter morning or Easter Monday or any other morning, for that matter, and wonder where the risen Christ is. For one reason or another, we may feel like Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb wondering where they have taken Him. I wrote this a few years back on Easter morning and thought I might share it with you:
While it was still dark she came. She did not wait at home. She did not wait for Him or for others to come to her. And she expected to find what? Surely the stone still blocking her from Him. And yet she came. In the darkness. In her grief. She sought Him out even if only to lean her head and heart upon that stone that separated Him from her. In the darkness, in her grief she came.
And what did she find? The stone rolled away—but He was not there. He was not there. “I sought him, but found him not. I called him, but he gave no answer” (Song of Songs 5:6b). “Where have they laid him? They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him” (Jn 20:13b).
Her sorrow is now greater, yet she does not return home. She stands there weeping. And seeking. While it was still dark.
And no one else can solace her. Not angels. Not gardeners . . . She still seeks Him. While it is still dark. And that seeking, that longing of her soul, that anguish at His absence is the latch Christ uses to open her heart when He says her name: “Mary.” While it was still dark.
So go to Him. While it is still dark. While you are still weeping. Even when you cannot find Him. Stand there weeping and seeking Him. And listen for your name. Even now He is saying it.
While it is still dark.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”