With Joy You Shall Draw Water

Pope Francis said in a homily in May of 2014 "a healthy Christian is a joyful Christian, even in times of sorrow and tribulation.  A Christian without joy is either not a Christian or he is sick.  There's no other type!"  Back when I first heard this I was going through a period of desolation - spiritually and emotionally - I was stretched, exhausted and definitely not happy.  This comment from Pope Francis struck me in a way that hurt my heart even more than it was already hurting.  I felt tired, unhappy, pulled in too many directions and lots of other things, but joy was not on the list of feelings. This statement became a challenge – one I wasn’t sure I had the energy for. How does one heal from the sickness of lack of joy?

Shortly after this, I attended a women’s conference and had an experience during prayer that called me to enter into daily prayer in a way that was different than I had done before – every day for one hour at the end of my work day, which would require this workaholic to leave work on time in order to fit it in! As I worked through the struggles of making a holy hour each day I began to find something I had lost.  I was becoming reacquainted with my loving creator, and my life was changing.  Little by little I found my joy hidden deep in my heart.  Let’s be clear though, when I say I found joy that does not mean I was happy.  Joy is deeper, it is felt in the soul and the body, as well as the heart.  Although I was feeling stressed and stretched I also felt spiritually loved and cared for. My relationship with Jesus was renewed and joy had returned! This Lent take time to find that joy inside of you, by growing in intimacy with Jesus. 

For adults entering the church Lent is the time of final preparation for their baptism.  If we look into scripture we see that Jesus is baptized, recognized as God’s beloved Son and then he is “led by the spirit to the desert.”  After His time in the desert Jesus is tempted by Satan, but fortified by His 40 days of prayer and fasting he was strengthened to stand firm in the presence of temptation.  As we enter into Lent, our time of desert, may we recall our baptism and prepare for the renewal of our baptismal vows at Easter.  May we also accept our role as brothers and sisters to those who will be entering the Church this Easter through Baptism or Profession of Faith.  This Lent may we, like the Samaritan woman, find the joy that comes from drawing the living water of Christ so that we rush to share it with all those we come in contact with!          

Pick up your “With Joy You Shall Draw Water” booklet this Wednesday to begin your journey! Check this blog to keep going deeper each day!