"When it was read there was great delight at the encouragement it gave." —Acts 15:31
The leaders of the early Church sent a letter to the Gentile Christians of Antioch. The leaders told them that the Holy Spirit and the Church's leaders had decided that the Gentile Christians were "to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from illicit sexual union" (Acts 15:29). When the letter "was read there was great delight at the encouragement it gave" (Acts 15:31). Were the Gentile Christians greatly delighted and encouraged because the commands expressed in this letter were easy to accept? Probably not, for we know that some Gentile Christians had great difficulty with the first and last commands of this letter (see Rm 14:13ff; 1 Cor 8:1ff; 1 Thes 4:3ff). The Gentile Christians rejoiced and were encouraged not because they got their way or an easy way, but because they were docile to the Holy Spirit and expressed this by their submission to the authority of the Church's leaders. The Gentile Christians of Antioch rejoiced because they were unselfish (see Phil 4:4-5). They delighted in obeying the law of the Lord (Ps 40:9), as it was revealed by the Holy Spirit through the leaders of the Church.
True delight and encouragement are based not on getting our way but on finding out God's will. Like Jesus, we derive our food, fulfillment, and joy from doing God the Father's will (Jn 4:34).
We cannot always get what we want, but we can always do God's will. Therefore, delight and encouragement are always available to us. Seek God's will. Submit to authority. Be delighted and encouraged always.
Prayer: Father, may I be Your delight.
Promise: "The command I give you is this, that you love one another." —Jn 15:17
Praise: St. Philip, a merry soul, told his disciples: "It is easier to serve God when you are happy than when you are downhearted. A servant of God should always be in good humor." "Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!" (Phil 4:4)
Nihil obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999
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