Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection 5-19-23

Friday of the 6th week of Easter, May 19, 2023

Acts 18:9-18; Ps 47: 2-7; Jn 16:20-23

“No one will take your joy away from you.” (Jn 16:22) What reassurance we have from God regarding joy. How someone or something can take it away from us so easily is very disconcerting. Maybe instead of focusing in on our loss of joy, we should think about the question; What truly brings us joy? And then, ultimate peace? 

St. Teresa of Avila says the way to true joy and peace must start simply, by turning to meditation and prayer. When we do that, God showers us with love and the graces to find peace and joy. While it is part of the human condition to undergo trials and tribulations, it is only by turning to God that we can overcome our fear and find peace. 

A week or so ago, in a small men’s group, the question was asked; “Where in our modern world, can we find peace and joy in our lives?” The answer they gave almost always was turning back to God, who is perfect and true. Yes, we can find joy in the things here on earth, like grandkids, a great work of art, or a wonderful song. But to find true joy and peace, we can only find it through the graces we obtain during our meditation and prayer times. Our true joy will be when we someday meet Jesus in heaven. 

St. Teresa gives us a wonderful model to strive for in her writings. She talks about the interior rooms we all have and the seven different levels we obtain when we pass through them. The first level being mediation and prayer, one we can all easily obtain. As we ascend through each level, we get closer to God. Can we obtain the seventh level? Yes, just look to the saints and you will see many who made it while on earth. So, if we work on it, and turn our life over to God, maybe someday we will become a saint ourselves. All the men in my group realized we were falling short and needed to submit our wills to God. Freeing ourselves from the sadness and mourning Jesus was talking about in John 16:20. We do not need to see what the world rejoices in; we just need to focus in on Jesus. Only then will the graces be poured out on us, and we will find that inner peace and joy. Join us, spend a little time in meditation and prayer, and receive the joy and peace God has for you.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL