The devil is cruel
He managed to convince us that
serving God is equivalent to sadness
while serving him is pleasurable.
Sin is fun.
Holiness is misery.
Yes, there may be hell afterwards
but meanwhile I will have enjoyed life.
This is a big lie.
Anyone who had even a brief experience of Jesus Christ
knows it is not so.
After He rose from death,
the apostles found Jesus waiting for them
…on the shore.
They were at sea…
Sea – for the biblical man – is the symbol of problems and troubles.
This simple fact is already highly significant.
He is never far away from our problems.
They did not recognise him instantly.
But He was there.
The same way He is always near us
every time our boat is tossed around.
He was near and He did something momentous for them.
He made them catch a lot of fish.
One hundred and fifty three big fish, to be precise.
-The ancient world had identified 153 species of fish in the sea.-
So many that the net was too heavy for them to haul into the boat.
Jesus has the knack of giving us not only what we need.
But He goes beyond and overflows us with good things.
He even made a step further.
He prepared for them a fire, took the fish and cooked it for them.
He took the bread, broke it and gave it to them to eat.
Indeed, “what else could I do for you and I did not do it?”
God rewards abundantly his loved ones.
St Benedict Labrè used to exclaim:
“If people could insert the entire world in their heart,
it still would not fill it,
because the world is round and our heart has a triangular shape!”
Our heart can only be filled by another Heart.
When St Francis of Assisi abandoned his father’s possessions behind,
barefooted and stripped of all his clothes, with passion he went around,
crying out, “I have God! I have everything!”
When St Francis of Borgia left his service to the queen of Spain
and gave himself in God’s service,
he was so happy that for many nights he could not sleep
due to the joy he was experiencing!
“That’s enough, Lord, enough, no more sweetness,
my heart can’t bear it!”
When St Teresa of Jesus, at twenty one,
entered the Carmelite monastery,
she wrote that the joy she felt then
was so great that she could never forget it and it remained with her always.
St Philip Neri was heard to say:
“Jesus my love, please let me sleep!”
When Jesus enters your heart,
He makes you do crazy things.
When after the catching of so many fish,
St Peter realised that it was the Lord,
he put on his cloak and jumped into the sea!
When we jump in the sea… we usually undress and not dress up!
But this is what Jesus does:
He drives you crazy!
No sadness. No misery. No depression.
It is the devil who is always a bore.
Those who serve God leap with joy.
“No more will you be known as ‘Forsaken’
or your country be known as ‘Desolation”;
instead you will be called ‘my Delight is in her’
and your country ‘The Wedded’;
for Yahweh will take delight in you
and your country will have its wedding.
Like a young man marrying a virgin,
Your rebuilder will wed you,
And as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride,
So will your God rejoice in you.”
(Isaiah 62, 4-5)
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.