Lenten Joy/Easter Joy

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This post might as easily have been entitled, "What Joy Means to Me."

Easter has come and marked a change in time. Were I to take this very fine post at Disputations at face value, I would be very much concerned. The deeper into penance one goes during Lent, the higher into joy one goes when Easter comes. And this seems very true. However, my Easter season is little different from my Lenten season--there is no profound surge of emotion, no exultation that was not already present in Lent. What there is instead is a quiet reassurance that what began in Lent will continue quietly through the Easter season and beyond. The changes that have started can take root and transform life. This quiet assurance that marked the whole of Lent, marks Easter as well. God is present. He conquered Death to be present to us.

Hence, a word of caution about what "joy" might mean. It may, in its popular understanding be mistaken for happiness; but, that is not the fullness of meaning, and certainly not the fullness Tom was aiming for when He wrote. The essence of Joy is living in the presence of the Lord. As proximity increases, so too does joy. When proximity is such that all that is present is the darkness that comes when God wishes to draw us into Himself, joy is still there in the clinging to faith and the standing firm on God. Easter joy may not come upon one as an emotion so much as a confirmed change in life, a determination to move ahead less full of oneself and more full of Christ.

Easter joy takes many forms, not all of which would be readily understood as such by everyone; however, this joy dwells in the heart and it may affect different people quite differently. As with the gathering at a charismatic prayer group, there will be those who are loud and express God's word in great joy, and those who quietly relish His presence among His people.

If your joy is not the shout out and dance experience, don't worry. Treasure what God has given you in the secret recesses of your heart and determine to take the small gift and make the most of it. Move closer to the Lord with each day, with each prayer. Turn the penance of Lent to good purpose by looking on the face of the Lord. Grow in love with Him--that is part of the season of Easter. The good work begun in you at your baptism is brought each year to this fullness and transformed in His light.

May we all continue to grow in His ways in fullness of heart and great joy at the assurance of His tender love for us.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 17, 2006 9:18 AM.

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