By Sr. Isabelle
“You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy…Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:20- 22)
Jesus is calling us to a deep level of courage as we walk with Him this Holy Week. Yes, He is inviting us to enter more deeply into the Pascal Mystery than ever before. This sacred week Christ not only invites us to walk with Him as we contemplate His Passion, He is asking us to share in it, through our own sufferings as a Church and human family. Jesus tells us, “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
Where did His courage, peace and joy come from, in the face of the loss of all worldly success and honor, of suffering and even death itself? In the Gospel of John, chapter 15, verse 9, Jesus reveals the secret of His enduring joy: the Father’s love for Him. By keeping the Father’s commandments, Jesus remains in the Father’s love. His union with the Father is the source of His joy, for He knows that the Father is greater than anything else. Jesus wants to share with us His joy, peace and courage this week. He says to us, I desire that “My joy may be in you and [that] your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
If we remain in union with the Father, we have nothing to fear. Even if He allows us to lose all in this life, as Christ did on the Cross, we have Him. Through His gift of the Holy Spirit, we have His love in our hearts, and no one can take that away. In fact, love can only grow during these difficult times, with so many opportunities to care for those around us. Finally, we do not even have to fear death, since we look forward with joy to an eternity of heavenly bliss in the arms our loving Father. That is the power of the Resurrection that the saints let penetrate their minds and hearts.
St. Paul knew the power of the Resurrection, which is the unstoppable, explosive power of the love of God. He says, “I am accustomed to any and every situation – to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:12). He was convinced that nothing “can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. If Paul would be living today, he would remind us that, in “trouble, distress”, church closures, viruses and stock market declines, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:35-39).
Our foundress, Mother Luisita lived in a time of tremendous challenges and much uncertainty. Yet through it all, she recollected herself to God, because in imitation of Jesus, she found her joy and peace secure in the knowledge of our Heavenly Father’s love for her. This is what sustained her as she faced life’s challenges head on. If you are looking for some encouragement, read Mother Luisita’s letter in which she talks about experiencing God’s peace. Her words are as insightful and relevant today as they were nearly a century ago. Read Mother’s letter on Experiencing God’s Peace here.
Mother Luisita knew the secret of finding joy and peace during times of distress in the world. You can read her councils for difficult times in her letters from A Mother’s Heart.