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Traveling the holy way

First slide

Are you tired yet? Tired in the moment, the day, the season? Or tired for as far as the eye can see? It’s a hot and dusty road, the holy way we pursue during Advent. We all get tired as we travel it. God begins a movement toward us, extends an invitation to us, and we go out to meet him, eager for the encounter. Then, we are transformed by the meeting and life goes along merrily and without murmuring because we are Christians traveling with Christ.

Full stop.

No, it doesn’t. 

No one ever promised you a merry little life. Instead, you are promised abundance. And you are also promised a cross. And so, you will get tired. Because it’s all just a lot. 

Scripture speaks to our fatigue and our discouragement. The psalms emit a cry for restoration, a plea to be revived. We have traveled this road with our whole hearts and we are tired. “Will you please give us new life, Lord?” 

God grants us new mercies every morning. He isn’t lagging on the road, dragging his feet. Great is his faithfulness (Lam 3:22-23). But we are human, and humans are frail. We get tired; we get discouraged. We try to draw from the well of yesterday’s blessings, and we forget to meet him anew every day:

Restore us again, O God of our salvation,

and put away thy indignation toward us!

Wilt thou be angry with us forever?

Wilt thou prolong thy anger to all generations?

Wilt thou not revive us again,

that thy people may rejoice in thee?

Show us thy steadfast love, O Lord,

and grant us thy salvation.

(Ps 85:4-7) 

We need him here, as Advent marches on, to revive our sagging spirits and prepare us to rejoice. We want Jesus to lead us into a life of truly Christian joy. St. Peter describes this life for us. “Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1 Pt 1:8-9).

Even though we’ve never met Christ in person, never physically put our hands in his, we, like the early Christians St. Peter addresses, can know him. And in knowing him, we love him. We trust that we will be revived by him, and then we can celebrate him with joy. 

As we travel the holy way, our trust is strengthened. The Lord is reliable; he is always true to his word. Our faith increases because we are confident in his love and in what he will do. And joy comes along for the journey with love and faith. 

Joy is what happens when love and faith resound in your soul. It echoes into the world. It spills into your everyday actions and reactions. It buoys your steps, and it suffuses your countenance with its softness and its light. Joy is attractive and it attracts other souls.

Evidence of our joy allows us to be icons of the goodness of God in the world. But how do we go from tired eyes to joyful smiles? Christian joy will swell in you when you deliberately seek to spend time with Jesus. You become more and more like the one you are with. You consume him in the Eucharist, and you are literally filled with his glory. 

The joy of glory grows and glows in you. It radiates from your eyes and breaks easily into a smile.

You are tired? Rest in Christ. Soak him up.

He will revive you with joy, and it will be glorious. I promise.

Foss, whose website is takeupandread.org, writes from Connecticut. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

@elizabethfoss