Your Religion: A JOY OR BURDEN
Rev. Fr. Dean Nastos, January 29, 2012
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and tribulations.”
Religion to one person is a blessing to be enjoyed, whereas to another it is a burden to be borne. To one it is a weight that seems to hold him back - to another, it is wings that lift him up.
The joy received does not, however, eliminate the fact that at times there also is a burden to bear. In religion, as in all of life, the burden precedes the joy and is essential to it. Religion was a joy to Jesus, but His religion did not remove a burden from His shoulders. Yet, His religion was the source of His joy and it made Him the most radiant person who has ever lived. So it was with Paul.
Even as a dynamic faith brought inexpressible joy to Jesus and to Paul, so it also has to a multitude of others, some of who we perhaps know. It says to us that we too can progress in our faith until it is the chief joy in our life, and until it turns every experience in life into a blessing and even eventually into a joy.
To observe Paul in this matter will help us. We notice, for example, that he loved Christ will all his soul, mind, heart, and strength. If we love Christ, our religion also will be a joy - Paul proved that. And Paul loved Christ because he knew Him. “I am full of confidence, for I know whom I have trusted and I am sure that He is able to keep me safe until that day which has been entrusted to me.” (II Timothy1:12) If we know the Lord, we too, will love Him.
Paul knew the Lord because he served Him. Many of us find little joy in our religion because we have really never served the Lord. We are living for ourselves, centered in ourselves, concerned mostly about ourselves. Among other things, the Pre-Lenten and Lenten seasons give us the opportunity to change all that and to be a Christian in the true sense of the word.