SOMETIMES the discussion of God, religion, truth, freedom, divine laws, etc. can cause us to lose sight of the fundamental message of Christianity: not only do we need Jesus in order to be saved, but we need Him in order to be happy.
It is not a matter of simply intellectually consenting to the message of salvation, showing up for Sunday service, and trying to be a nice person. No, Jesus not only says that we should believe in Him, but that fundamentally, without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Like a branch disconnected from a vine, it will never bear fruit.
Indeed history, until that moment when Christ entered the world, proved the point: the rebellion, division, death, and disharmony of the human race after the fall of Adam spoke for itself. Likewise, since the Resurrection of Christ, the subsequent embrace of the Gospel in nations, or the lack thereof, are also proof enough that without Jesus, humanity continually falls into the snares of division, destruction, and death.
And so, more than ever, we need to reveal to the world these fundamental truths: that, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4) That “the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 14:17) And therefore, we should “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” (Matt 6:33) not our own kingdom and many needs. That is because Jesus “came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) And so He says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) You see, peace, joy, rest… they are found in Him. And so those who do seek Him first, who come to Him for life, who draw near to Him for rest and to quench their thirst for meaning, for hope, for happiness—of these souls, He says, “Rivers of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38)
…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)
The waters Jesus gives are composed of grace, truth, power, light, and love—what Adam and Eve were deprived of after the fall, and all that is necessary to be truly human and not just high-functioning mammals.
It is as if Jesus, the light of the world, came as a pure beam of divine light, passing through the prism of time and history, and fracturing into a thousand “colors of grace” in order that every soul, taste, and personality would be able to find Him. He invites all of us to be washed in baptismal waters in order to be cleansed and restored to grace; He tells us to consume His very Body and Blood in order to have eternal life; and He beckons us to imitate Him in all things, that is, His example of love, “so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
So you see, we are completed in Christ. Our life’s meaning is discovered in Him. Jesus reveals who I am by revealing what a human should be, and therefore, who I must become. Because I am not only made by Him, but made in His image. Thus, to live my life apart from Him, even for a moment; to draw up plans that exclude Him; to set out upon a future that does not involve Him… is like a car without gas, a ship without an ocean, and a locked door without a key.
Jesus is the key to eternal life, to abundant life, to happiness here and now. That is why every single human being must open wide his or her heart to Him, to invite Him within, in order that he or she may enjoy the Divine Banquet of His presence that alone satiates every longing.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)
The measure of one’s unhappiness is the measure to which one has closed his heart to God, to His Word, His Way. Prayer, especially prayer of the heart that seeks Him as a friend, as a lover, as one’s everything, is what opens the door of His heart, and the paths to paradise.
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness… And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (2 Cor 12:9; Luke 11:9)
Prayer, little children, is the heart of faith and is hope in eternal life. Therefore, pray with the heart until your heart sings with thanksgiving to God the Creator who gave you life. —Our Lady of Medjugorje allegedly to Marija, June 25, 2017
Therefore, you fathers, make prayer the center of your heart and homes. Mothers, make Jesus the center of your family life and days. Let Jesus and His Word become your daily bread. And in this way, even in the midst of suffering, you will know that sacred contentedness that Adam once tasted, and the Saints now enjoy.
They are happy, whose strength is in you, in whose hearts are the roads to Zion. As they go through the Bitter Valley, they make it a place of springs, the autumn rain covers it with blessings. They will walk with ever growing strength… (Psalm 84:6-8)
You are loved.
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