Consider it a joy

Readings for Monday February 15, 2010

First Reading: James 1:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119
Gospel: Mark 8:11-13

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Currently there is an exciting event going on worldwide. In case you have not noticed, the Winter Olympics are underway in Vancouver Canada. The Olympics are always an exciting event, because not only do you have athletes representing your country that you can cheer on, but we see people facing incredible challenges all in order to succeed and gain a great honor and reward and to make their country proud. The Olympics are always a mixed bag of emotions, as the are great come from behind victories as well as heartbreaking stories. Regardless of the outcome, everyone who take part in these sporting events grows, both the athletes and the spectators. We grow because we either experience, or witness, great hardships which must be overcome, and by persevering through these challenges we grow.

James tells us today that we should take a different attitude when encountering challenges. Instead of despair, we should be joyful to be endure hardships. Because if we are willing to do this, then there can be great growth that comes about. The key is to move forward by persevering through the challenges in life, not by running away. Running away from the things that are hard in life do not give us any chance for success; but if we are willing to take a chance, trust and persevere through, then we will become better people as a result. Our Lord never promised that the faith journey would be easy, in fact He promised us the opposite, that we would need to endure a great deal and that each of us would need to pick up our cross. While our Lord never promised that this would be easy, He did promise us a great reward in the end.

James and the other apostles knew a thing or two about hardship and challenges, but by God's grace, they experienced their trials and challenges they came across with joy, instead of despair. Because they knew that God was helping them grow, God was leading the closer to Him. Many times we will encounter various things in our lives, not because they are fun or easy, but because we need them and because they will help us grow. If we are willing to trust in God, then He will help us through these things and will help us see why it was important.

I once heard a deacon day, "God loves us just as we are. But He loves us too much to keep us that way." It is the trials and challenges in life that will help us change, and when we face them, may God grant each of us the grace to consider it a joy.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Help us to love as you love and to hold nothing back. Lord, thank you for loving us so much and for your great mercy. Help us to be joyful when encountering trials, and that we might do all t hings with a servant's attitude. Lord, you are so good to us, much more than we deserve, may our hearts always be full of you and your love. We pray for all those who are suffering, and all those who are being persecuted, may they find their strength in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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