“The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
I was asked, “What is Joy in the Holy Spirit and how do I get it?”
The word joy, found in the New Testament, is the translation of the Greek word “chara.” Chara is used to describe inner gladness, a deep sense of delight or rejoicing. Chara is found in a family of words, charis, meaning "grace" or "gift," and charos, to "rejoice” or “express joy." Chara, or joy, is the inner, natural response to a gracious gift. In every instance in the Bible, that gift originates with God, whether it be the arrival of the Messiah (Luke 1:14), the resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:8), God's power over the sinful world (Luke 10:17), or God's salvation (Acts 13:52). God's grace is so strong that even the promise of His work can elicit joy (Hebrews 10:34; James 1:2-4). And one of the greatest sources of joy is seeing God's redeeming work in others (Acts 13:52; 1 Thessalonians 3:9; Philippians 2:2).
Joy is listed by St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians, as the second fruit of the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). It is important to realize that Joy is a “fruit” of the Spirit; that is, Joy is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual.
Sadly, chara or joy, is often confused with happiness, but they are not the same thing. Joy comes from within, a kind of welling up and filling sensation that permeates despite what is happening in the world. Happiness shares some common ground with joy in emotional likeness, but it is most often dependent on a situation and dictated by conditions. To be joyful is to transcend being happy.
This transcendence is based not on my will or your work, but on the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Joy in the Spirit is wholly and completely found in the abiding and permeating love of God in Christ. To experience the “Joy of the Spirit” is to draw close to Christ and accept his love. Jesus tells us that true joy is only found in him, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
So, Joy in the Spirit is exactly what we want, what we have been promised, and what we need to live a better life. Joy in the Spirit overcomes the hardships, not by laughing through them, but by abiding in God who comforts, consoles, and lifts us in our sorrows.
Dive into scripture, immerse yourself in prayer, grow in the Spirit, and receive Joy!
“For the joy of the LORD is your strength,” Nehemiah 8:10.
Peace in Christ,
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11
While we were at our Shrine Mont retreat last Sunday I was asked, “What does IHS stand for?”
To answer this question, we must pause for a short definition. If I wanted to adorn my bath towels with my initials, I would order a monogram. The abbreviation for Jesus’ name is called a Christogram; in Latin a Monogramma Christi. There are many Christograms; HIS is one of them.
The IHS Christogram is an abbreviation for Jesus' name in Greek using the first three letters. Jesus, translated from Greek to English through Latin is ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, ιησυς iēsus--Jesus. “ΙΗΣ” broken down is “I”—Iota = I, “H”—Eta = H, “Σ”—Sigma = S. Additionally you may see the Christogram as “ΙΗΣ,” representing the original Greek or “IHC,” “C” being a variant for of the “S” in the Greek alphabet.
Over the years many sayings have been attached to the letter as a teaching form. The sayings take the letters, HIS or IHC and attach whole words to them to create an inspirational message. For instance, you may have heard someone say that IHS means, In Hac Salus: "In This Safety,” or Iesus Hominum Salvator: "Jesus -Man- Savior,” or In Hoc Signo: “In This Sign" Ye Will Conquer (usually found with a sword and shield), but these are incorrect. They are sayings that represent the action of Jesus and the effect of faith, but IHS is simply the abbreviation of Jesus.
As an aside, you may also see the abbreviation INRI which is placed above Jesus and many Crucifixes and comes from the Gospel of John 19:19-20,
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.
INRI is the abbreviation of the Latin, Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
In His Name,
Dear Creator Family,
First, thank you all so very much for the many messages of concern and for your prayers during my COVID lockdown. My experience was a very unpleasant one, but I was bolstered by your prayers, the companionship of Christ, and the ministrations of the Holy Spirit.
I would like to share with you a few observations regarding my experience. First, I am fully vaccinated, as is Jenny, who also tested positive shortly after I did. I am in good health and rarely feel ill to the point of taking any personal time off. When I found out that I tested positive, I planned out my first week of isolation to include the six-hour teardown and mounting of a trailer hitch for Sophie’s Subaru Outback. I was confident that my week would consist of many “honey-do” projects that have languished over the past several months and that COVID would be nothing more than a “slight head cold-like” experience. How wrong I was!
My first week was a roller coaster of agonizing pain (which could not be controlled even by Hydrocodone), chronic and debilitating fatigue, fevers, and headaches. I rapidly became sleep-deprived due to the pain and experienced a wave of desperation for relief, unlike anything I have ever known. In short, this was not the mild head cold experience I thought it would be. On the other hand, Jenny was sailing through the experience with few if any symptoms and was anxious to get back to work.
I share this with you because I want you to be aware that, at least by my personal experience and my doctor’s reflection, there is no telling how hard COVID will hit you. Why was I so debilitated while Jenny remained so healthy? No one knows. What this has shown me is that no one is safe. Just because you may know someone (Jenny) who sailed right through, does not mean you will. Even now, well past my “isolation and transmission period,” I remain in pain.
Needless to say, Sophie still doesn’t have a trailer hitch on her car.
Please remain vigilant.
Peace in Christ,
In this series, “Questions I’m Asked,” we have answered questions about The Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, Grace, biblical sacrifice, and the Sacraments. This week I was asked, “So, what exactly is the Lectionary?”
*This answer will focus on the Three-Year Liturgical Lectionary. We will save the Two-Year Daily Lectionary for another time.
“A lectionary (Latin: lectionarium) is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion. There are sub-types such as a "Gospel lectionary" or evangeliary, and an epistolary with the readings from the New Testament Epistles.” (wiki)
Up to the time of Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD), Christianity was a faith of the shadows; that is, through periods of persecution and in the face of opposing religious views, Christianity was often practiced in secret. After Constantine became Emperor, Christianity was thrown into the limelight and a period of rapid, chaotic growth ensued. The Constantinian period ushered in a shift in Christian identity both publicly and privately. Thousands of people had converted to Christianity with little or no real knowledge of the faith they were proclaiming. There was a real sense of confusion and disappointment because Baptism had promised change, but people found that their daily lives remained stagnant. It was during this time that many liturgical practices were codified to help direct learning and worship in a uniform and progressive way.
Organizing the “Liturgical Year” was a way that Christians could relive the foundational events of the Gospel while continuing in regular practice of daily life. Attending church services regularly, the convert and faithful alike would share the same story, hear the same Scriptures, and grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord. The weekly lessons would build upon each other to inform and challenge presuppositions about reality and deepen devotion to God. The Lectionary was the repetitive re-living of the foundational events of Christianity at the core of which were the life of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This liturgical re-living was meant to provide an organized framework through which all questions (any question) could be asked and answered. From the daily response to touchy political issues to God’s grace and redemptive sacrifice of Christ, the Lectionary was the backbone of learning.
There have been many “proto-lectionaries” through the ages: many locales and even individual churches produced their own Lectionary. Musaeus of Marseille, a Priest and Preacher in the mid-5th century, produced a lectionary that was widely followed for a time. In 1559 Bishop +Cranmer included a Lectionary in the first Book of Common Prayer based on “regular practices” of the Latin Rite. Our current Lectionary, the Revised Common Lectionary, has evolved over the centuries and is a direct descendant of the Common Lectionary published in 1983. The Revised Common Lectionary preserved approximately 90% of the Gospel readings in the Lectionary of The Book of Common Prayer, but also provided an option of biblical texts to lesser-known potions of Scripture.
The Common Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary have become atruly ecumenical liturgical and individual resource. In structure, it is a three-year cycle of readings revolving around the foundation of the three synoptic Gospels. Year A’s Gospel is Matthew, Year B’s Gospel is Mark, and Year C’s Gospel is Luke (we are currently in Year C). In practice, each Sunday, Anglicans around the world, as well as most of the Protestant denominations use the Lectionary to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches also use portions of the Lectionary at times and many Four Square and free church parishes rely upon it as well. It provides new opportunities for ecumenical Bible study and shared resources for teaching and preaching and it has improved the choice of appropriate texts for Sundays and Feast Days.
So, “what exactly is the Lectionary?” Well aside from the historical explanation, and the wonderful ecumenical opportunities possible through its use, the Lectionary is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the hearts and minds of women and men throughout the ages to create a system through which God’s love is proclaimed and received. The Lectionary is a guide to ensure the teaching of the faith and prevent special interest fixation and stagnation. The Lectionary is our companion through which the plan of God to unite all the peoples of the earth finds some witness and instills hope through the regular unfolding revelation of God.
Peace in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†