joy on death row
"I have full confidence that now as always Christ will be exalted through me, whether I live or die." —Philippians 1:20
When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he was on death row and very happily awaiting His execution. He was looking forward to dying and being with Christ (Phil 1:23). If, however, Paul would be spared death and/or released from prison, that would mean "productive toil" for the gospel (Phil 1:22), and this would be good too.
Paul was in a great mood because no matter what could happen to him, it would be good. If we sat on death row, most of us would be beside ourselves, depressed, and fearful. Paul felt differently because all that mattered to him was that Christ be proclaimed "in any and every way" (Phil 1:18). To Paul, "life" meant Christ, hence, dying was so much gain (Phil 1:21). Living for Christ was a joy, whether this meant working for Him, or dying for Him.
Paul showed us that the secret of happiness is not favorable circumstances but being in love with Jesus. His love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pt 4:8). It gives us joy in the midst of sorrows. God's love never fails (1 Cor 13:8).
Prayer: Jesus, may Your love make me forget about myself and my problems.
Promise: "For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." —Lk 14:11
Praise: In addition to his lengthy prayer time, St. Charles, a cardinal with heavy responsibilities, set aside two hours daily for meditation.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our tape Jesus the Redeemer on audio AV 50-3 or video V-50.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006
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