God's Gift of Love by
Father Robert DeGrandis
PRAYER BRINGS FAITH AND FAITH BRINGS JOY -- EVEN IN TIMES OF CHASTISEMENT
Can we still laugh? Can we still have joy?
Yes, of course we can. In fact, faith brings us to just such joy no matter what happens around us. It is a lack of faith -- which comes from a lack of prayer -- that leads to fear.
If you're afraid, step up your prayer life. Pray from the heart. And pray a lot longer. It's then that the Spirit comes, and how can anything be scary when we have the Holy Spirit?
Don't get us wrong: what happened -- the tragedy of last week -- must be mourned. It must be recognized as evil. It must also be seen as a dire warning. We never shy from reporting the serious and even evil side of this journey called life. The present hour is the most sobering since World War II and in our belief it's bound to get much more serious. Those who deny this -- who don't think God chastises -- must not believe in the Bible. (See Matthew 24. See Luke 21. See the accounts of Noah or Sodom or Jonah.)
But we know God is there, that after this life -- no matter what might happen on earth -- there is eternity. Life never ends; the most horrible tragedy, the most spectacular death, is but a transition. And so merciful is God that we're told by those who have experienced clinical death that the Lord often takes a soul before the actual instant of impact. Death is often more frightening for those watching than those who are actually going through it. There is the presence of saints. There are deceased loved ones. There are angels. It's when we're not prepared that we fear. And the best preparation is to grow in faith, love, and humility. Seek God. Forget worldliness. "If you are humble," said Mother Teresa, "nothing will touch you." If we are spiritually prepared, there is nothing to fear and there is the realization that some day in some way we all die and go on to a reality so exciting and vast it will take eternity to investigate it!
"God has created us to love and to be loved, and this is the beginning of prayer -- to know that He loves me, to know that I have been created for greater things," added Mother Teresa.
Those greater things are forever and they can not be terrorized or killed.
When we think of life in those terms it casts out fear and leads us to repentance. It's those short on faith who fall into a spiral of negative emotions. If you find yourself doing that, grab yourself by the bootstraps. Pull yourself up. Cast that fearfulness away in the name of Jesus! It works: when we cast away fear it must leave -- making room for the bliss of thoughts eternal.
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