[The "Johannine hours" are meant as a way of seeking God in silence and prayer in the midst of our daily life. During the course of a day, take a moment to read the Bible passage with the short commentary and to reflect on the questions which follow. Afterwards, a small group people can meet to share what they have discovered and perhaps for a time of prayer.]
He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants."
Joy is often perceived as the end-result of our own efforts, for example
as in having done something well, or as a fleeting instant in what is
otherwise a sea of worries. Joy, however, is there at every new
beginning: as the angels sing for the newborn Christ-child on that dark
evening, with the disciples at Easter before even they have fully
comprehended, proclaimed at Pentecost when the consoling Spirit opens
the doors and enables the marvels of God to be expressed in every
Joy is present too at the start of every encounter. Jesus' own
jubilation in the Gospel is an invitation for us to discover it
ourselves. Other people are a source of joy not because of the
satisfaction they can bring me, but because they are loved by God each
in a unique manner and are entrusted to me. You are God's joy, and the
Lord wishes that you be my joy also. God wishes that the Holy Spirit
enlighten the eyes of my heart ready as they so often are to judge
others, that my heart be made wider, and that an expectant hope be woken
up within me.
I am not responsible for creating my own joy (if so, my whole life would be torn between the search for satisfaction and the threat of disillusionment) but I am responsible for being always in wait for it. I am responsible for confiding to God all the obstacles I come across and for allowing him to change my heart of stone into a heart which loves. Could this be the way which the starets and saint Seraphim of Sarov himself discovered and which led him to greet each one of his visitors with the words, "O, my joy!"
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