Third of Advent – 13th December
“When faced with trials put on a happy face!” There can be a sense that when Paul writes to the Thessalonians there is a sense of being overly optimistic or covering up the difficulties we face with a false smile. I believe what Paul is actually asking of us is that we pray at all times and in all situations. This takes on an attitude which seeks to become a person of thanksgiving in whatever situation we find ourselves.
Yet this is not always easy as Paul notices we need to listen to the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is good from what is bad. This calls for a considered response which not only prays but also seeks to reflect on the environment in which we live and the actions that we are capable of performing. This calls us to be people who do not retreat into our own private world but seek to be holy in the place that we live. This is not manufactured piety but rather a lived expression of God’s love for the world.
Each day we are called to notice what aids us in growing closer to God and to others. God helps us to notice the hidden graces which transform us and our world. In this way, we bear witness to the spirit of the Lord which brings good news to the poor, binds up hearts that are broken, which seeks freedom to those who are held imprisoned by their way of life. The call is to become people who imbibe the Spirit and live our life with hope for the good of the world.
Fr. John Armstrong