May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
Encourage is such a beautiful word. It means “to inspire with hope or confidence,” “to strengthen.” All of us can identify people who have encouraged us at one time or another in our lives and helped us to move beyond fear and self-doubt to a place of strength and peace.
Paul’s letters to the church in Thessalonica are among his earliest writings. Members of this church lived in fervent expectation of the Lord’s return, so much so that some stopped working entirely, abandoned ordinary patterns of life and responsibility, and waited eagerly for Christ to come in glory.
In the passage we hear today, Paul writes to encourage the Thessalonians not to be driven by hysteria, false teachings, supposed letters from him, etc., but to stand firm in the faith and traditions they have received. His final words are especially powerful. He states that the Lord Jesus and the Father offer encouragement to all by the hope of the Gospel and the effective working of grace in their lives.
We are to live in hope, not fear. This is a timely message in the context of the present pandemic gripping much of the world. Grace is promised for every moment.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard wrote to Mme. Mathilde Giraud-Jordan in 1868, the year of his death: “People are afraid to be powerless, and so are off their path. We are neither natural nor supernatural. What can we do? Follow grace.”
A thought for your prayer: Do my words and actions encourage others or leave them disheartened?
Let us pray:
God, give me words to heal the bruised reed, to soothe the searching soul. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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