Imitators of Christ!

1 Thessalonians 1:6

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The remarkable thing about today’s verse is how Paul understands what it means to be an “imitator” of the Lord and his apostles.  He does not say, “You walked on water, raised the dead, preached to thousands or traveled endless weary miles like we did.”  He says the mark of an imitator of Christ is “affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.”  This is why Christians can live such varied lives, yet still be marked by the sign of the cross—-affliction-—and the sign of the resurrection—-joy in the Holy Spirit.  Those two things, like the two beams of the cross, seem to contradict each other, yet they reach out to encompass the world with the fullness of the word of Christ.  Today thank God for sharing his life—-both the cross of affliction and the joy of resurrection—-with you.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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