Rejoice in the Lord Always – Ambrose

Beloved brethren, you have heard in the present reading how St Paul says I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord. For the salvation of our souls God in his goodness calls us to the joys of everlasting blessedness. The joys of this world lead to eternal sorrow; but those who persevere in following the joys that are to be found in the will of the Lord will find themselves led to an enduring, an eternal world. So St Paul says again, I repeat, what I want is your happiness.

He is urging us to grow in the joy that leads to God and to the fulfillment of God’s commandments. The more we strive to obey the precepts of our Lord God in this world, the more blessed we shall be in the life to come and the greater will be the glory that we receive in God’s presence.

Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: that is, the holiness of your behavior should not only be clear to God but also to men. It should be an example of modesty and self-discipline to all who share this earth with you. It should leave nothing but good memories, both for God and for man.

The Lord is very near, there is no need to worry: the Lord is always near to anyone who calls on him in truth, with right faith, with firm hope, with perfect love. He himself knows what you need before you ask it of him: he is always ready to give his faithful servants whatever help they need. When bad things happen to us we should not be greatly worried, because we should know that we have God close to us as our defender. The Lord is close to those with contrite hearts; those with a broken spirit he will save. Many are the tribulations of the just; the Lord will free them of all their troubles. If we fight to fulfill and keep his precepts, he will not be slow to give us the aid he has promised.

If there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving: when we are afflicted with tribulations let us not bear them sadly or grumble about them – certainly not! – but let us be patient and cheerful, giving thanks to God always, in all circumstances.

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