A JOY EVER NEW, A JOY WHICH IS SHARED
Reflection on Evangelii Gaudium 2-8
Daily Reading for Dec. 1: Evangelii Gaudium paragraphs 2-8
Reflection by Kelly Wahlquist
A RENEWED PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
How ironic that as the world begins its preparation for Christmas on a day named after darkness and the void of light, Black Friday, the Holy Father invites all Christians, everywhere, to begin their preparation for Christmas with a renewed encounter with the Light of the World, Jesus Christ!
We are invited to prepare for a greater joy than any Black Friday sale can provide. We are invited to a joy ever new, and that joy is found in a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. And that invitation is for ALL. No one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord!
That’s an exhilarating idea, to think that no matter what, I am invited to a renewed personal relationship with Jesus Christ... but then a thought enters my mind: “How do I really do that? How can I have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ?”
Pope Francis gives us beautiful ways to do that in these first 8 paragraphs of Evangelii Gaudium. Simply put we are to: Ask, Seek, Rejoice and Persevere in Faith.
We are to ask and be open at all times to an encounter with the one who loves us perfectly. We are to seek Him knowing that “whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.” We are to rejoice in His Divine Mercy, “radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross” and we are to persevere in our faith, trusting in God’s love, surrendering completely to the love of the Father such that we allow Him "to attain the fullest truth of our being" and we find true joy.
Here are some simple ways to follow Pope Francis' words of wisdom to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ:
Begin each day this Advent with the simple prayer: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.
I have a copy of the prayer on the cupboard that holds my coffee cup, it guarantees each day begins with asking for a renewed personal encounter with Jesus. Perhaps write the prayer on a card and keep it next to your bed to say morning and night, or tape it to your bathroom mirror.
Seek time with to be with Jesus. A renewed relationship requires spending time together.
Make time to go to Adoration each week during Advent. If an adoration hour is already part of your routine, take one of the Scriptures referenced in the daily readings of Evangelii Gaudium and meditate on it.
Begin Advent with the Sacrament of Confession. “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy” (Evangelii Gaudium 3).
Find joy in God’s presence in your life: “Do not deprive yourself of the day’s enjoyment.”
Find ways throughout the Advent Season to enter into the “great stream of joy.” Perhaps keep your favorite praise & worship CD in your car and when days get trying, blast the music and sing for joy at the top of your lungs.
Persevere in Faith
Grow in your faith by simplifying your life and detaching from “things” that consume you.
Let go of meaningless time spent on social media or watching t.v. this Advent and spend that time getting to know Jesus Christ. Making time each day to read and reflect on Evangelii Gaudium is a great start.