Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunday Lent Two

“Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.”

Psalm 84, Sunday Lent Two, Evening Prayer, the Daily Office Book, Year One

It has in many ways been a difficult time over the past year, very challenging on all levels of living: spiritually, emotionally and materially. It has been a year of at times feeling frustration, self-doubt and of mourning loses. Honestly, my feelings have carried a lot of sorrow.

On my recent birthday, December 1, I was officiating a funeral for another elder friend of mine. While making the drive to the memorial gathering and meal, I was adrift in the thoughts of losses over the past year, and of beginning my new year putting another friend into the ground. I was feeling down. At the gathering of family and friends, come together to celebrate the life of my friend and break bread, a dear friend came over and sat down next to me, and knowing how the past year has gone, she asked me, “Brother John, tell me, are you happy?”

“Yes!” The word jumped straight from my heart and out of my mouth, and to my surprise, I must add. I think for the first time in my life I have truly been intentional and focused on God’s love, both knowing it and growing it. Giving myself to God’s compassion and accepting it, being vulnerable to it has become the strength which has brought forth joy and happiness. Deep down inside me and at the core of my being, in my heart, I know deep joy. In spite of all the difficulties of the past year, I am happy.

This has been the foundational year for the Society of Jesus Compassionate. We are heart-set on the pilgrim’s way. More and more for me, the pilgrim’s way is the way of vulnerability, first to receive and accept God’s judgment, of myself and everyone else, as being compassionate, and to then extend that same compassion into the world. We are, all people, called to be companions of compassion for each other. Likewise we are all called to know joy, to be happy. Open your hearts, minds and hands and join in the joyful journey.

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