“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
These words are saved in my heart and mind. They are also on my screensaver! These words are powerful and very much needed because they are an acknowledgement from God himself that the world is not always so pleasant. What makes these words bring peace to my soul is that Jesus spoke them, and spoke them at the start of his passion and near the end of his life. Only the Lord has words of eternal life. Only He is capable of bringing peace to the wounded heart and soul.
“In the world you will have trouble.” How often do we feel that there is no place to rest our weary heads? If your life is like mine, the feeling may be often. The friends and family we have may bring more pain than comfort, isolation rather than reunion. Does your work lead you to disappointment? Do you get this overwhelming sense of hopelessness? Do you look for comfort and find none?
What makes the Christian God so remarkable is the absolute fact that He understands what we go through! In a much more serious way (much more serious than my condition) he too experienced the reality of loss – the loss of home, of friends, of family, of reputation and of life. The world in Christ’s time was a mess: invasion, occupation, intolerance, brutality, misunderstandings, betrayal, death and perversion. Could it ever change? Would it ever change? The answer is: it already has!
God’s love penetrates into the deepest, the most profound depths of man’s very being. To be loved unconditionally is deep, so deep that we cannot even begin to comprehend it until we experience it for ourselves in the Sacrament of Confession. How else could I ever experience unconditional love? To be loved unconditionally is all-powerful! It moves mountains! It changes the way one thinks, moves and acts. The Lord’s loneliness is material, never spiritual. The Father loves Him. The Ascension of our Lord is a new twist to the Golden Rule: You cannot ascend into Heaven until you have fallen in love on earth!
The Father is with his Son and the Son is with us. The old order has been restored. Man again is made whole. The wound has been healed. The broken heart has been put back together. And since there is nothing more powerful than God’s love for me, there is nothing that can hold me back, not my sins nor the sins of others that fall upon me!
“In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” Be honest with yourself and see the goodness of the Lord. Experience for yourself how his mercy endures forever. Surround yourself with God’s friends, those who make known His splendor. Taste and see how the universe revolves around the Son. Have dinner tonight in our galaxy! Heck, in our universe! See for yourself how patient the Lord is.
“I have told you this so that you might have peace.” “Might” means it is up to me to accept God’s word and allow it to become living flesh!
The Lord did not live an easy life. He suffered tremendous loss. But he overcame all this loss with love – unconditional love. You may say that it was easy for Him; afterall, he has nothing to lose! Really? If I recall, he lost everything, including his life. The Lord refused to play the devil's game. Revenge was out of the question and would never be on the lips of Jesus. The love of God prevails above all things: loneliness, betrayal and even death. This love conquered the world and allows us to rise from the grave. You cannot ascend to Heaven until you have fallen in love on earth. This means to not allow personal loss to conquer but personal love to conquer.