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John 16. 20 - 23

So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Have you ever had a time when, upon meeting someone, your heart rejoiced because of a deep connection of the soul? When that happens to me, there is an audible voice inside that says this is a companion, a person with whom you will break bread and one whom you must get to know and with whom you must spend more time. In those encounters, I have discovered the meaning of soul friend.

In today's gospel from the Eucharistic readings, Jesus comforts the disciples, preparing them for the grief that lies ahead and soothing them about the peace and joy that will follow. Encountering a soul friend soothes whatever has gone before, reminding us of the peace and joy which Jesus promised his disciples. This does not mean that pain will be no more...but it does mean that pain will be transformed. When you have a soul friend to share your pain, you have a reminder of the presence of God and an opportunity to "transform your grief to joy." When you have a soul friend, "no one can take your joy from you."

In the last two years, I have been blessed with new friends without whom my life would never have been complete. In fact, we have often expressed that we've been waiting for a long time to come across each other. Keep an eye out for soul friends. Perhaps God puts them in our path right when we need them. Upon the discovery of your soul friends, no one and nothing can take your joy away from you.


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