Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5, 2012: Holy Thursday

THE CROSS GIVES US JOY
 After affirming, “Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it,” Jesus adds, “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:35-36). To what extent does a life that is totally spent in achieving success, longing for prestige, and seeking commodities to the point of excluding God from one’s horizon truly lead to happiness? Can true happiness exist when God is left out of consideration? Experience shows that we are not happy because our material expectations and needs are satisfied. In fact, the only joy that fills the human heart is that which comes from God; indeed, we stand in need of infinite joy. Neither daily concerns nor life’s difficulties succeed in extinguishing the joy that is born from friendship with God. Jesus’ invitation to take up one’s cross and follow him may at first sight seem harsh and contrary to what we hope for, mortifying our desire for personal fulfillment. At a closer look, however, we discover that it is not like this; the witness of the saints shows that in the Cross of Christ, in the love that is given, in renouncing the possession of oneself, one finds that deep serenity which is the source of dedication to our brethren, especially to the poor and the needy, and this also gives us joy.
(GENERAL AUDIENCE, FEBRUARY 6, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI)