In the Second Reading from today’s Mass, St. Paul has a clear message for us:
What should we do? Rejoice!
How often? Always!
Why? Because the Lord is Near!
I’m sure that some of you may be thinking that it’s easy for Paul to talk about rejoicing – he didn’t have MY problems. That may be true, but he had his own problems. In fact, he wrote these words from PRISON! I guess that if Paul can rejoice from a jail cell, we can try to rejoice despite the many problems that we face in our daily lives, don’t you think? I believe that the secret is to remember that no matter what problem we are dealing with, the Lord IS near! He will not abandon us and that is a comforting thought.
Don’t think for a minute that I find this advice easy. I struggle with this issue every day. However, continuing on with the above passage reveals some advice for how to deal with this situation. We need to make our requests known to God by prayer and petition…with thanksgiving! No matter what we are facing, there is a reason that the Lord allows it to happen and it will be best for us in the long run. For that, no matter how difficult, we should try to be thankful. Eventually, if we truly learn to let go and trust God, His peace (which surpasses all understanding) will fill our hearts.