1 min read
29 Apr

This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 6th Sunday of Easter.

Grant, Almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

I’ve spent a lot of hours, day and night, meditating on just two words of this prayer, heartfelt devotion. Sometimes thinking of something heartfelt can seem like buying a greeting card with a nice verse. The meaning in the card sounds nice, and the recipient will love it, but it’s not really how I feel. Heartfelt can be a “warm fuzzy” type of meaning, but that is not the heartfelt we find in this prayer.

Heartfelt devotion is something we offer to God (devotion) that is authentically on our heart (heart felt).

Easter joy (laetitiae in Latin) is not an emotion, it is a gift, the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

As I was thinking about examples of what it means to have a troubled heart and still have joy, I thought of Jesus praying in the Garden. Matthew 26 tells us, “Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ (v. 38-39 NABRE)

Jesus, always filled with the Holy Spirit, was also always filled with joy, but He did experience stress, especially that evening in the garden. Notice that He did not go to the Father in prayer and say, “I’m fine. It will be fine.” He went to the Father exactly like He was, His emotions raw, His heart troubled. He gave to the Father what was in His heart.

Sometimes we may think we need to be in pretty-good shape before we go to God, believing that God wants us to get things in order first. However this week’s Collect tells us to go to Him with heartfelt devotion, to go to Him just as we are.

We also may go to God and just let Him have it. We tell him all about our pain, anger, humiliation, and shame and then we pick it up and go home.

In both instances, we are forgetting the most important part: give it to God and don’t take it back. He is not asking us to carry the weight of the sin of the world and nail it to a cross, Jesus has already done that. He is asking us to let go of what we offer Him so that He can transform it.

In both instances, when we can truly give God what we are feeling and leave it with Him, we, and those around us, should notice that in the midst of the trial, we are still filled with joy.

We need to remember to relive in remembrance what we truly believe, that God loves us just as we are, that the weight we carry has already been nailed to a cross, that Jesus rose from the dead and already won the battle for us. The more and more we remember, or relive, what we know to be true, the more deeply it will become rooted in us.

As these truths become more deeply rooted in our lives, we will not be afraid to let go of the pain, anger, humiliation, and shame. Our hands are now free to hold on to the truths from God; that even though there will be times our hearts will be heavy, we are His sons and daughters and He has filled us with His gift of Joy.

Thanks for praying with me,

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