“And they lived happily ever after,” the fairy tales assured us as we drifted off to sleep, calm and peaceful, in our early years. Then we grew up, usually with 6 or 7 years under our belts. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, this was the stuff of little kids, we wisely concluded. And so, sadly, at an early age and on many levels, we discounted the hope of everlasting peace and harmony and settled for life with so much less. Unwittingly, we limited God.

Enter Isaiah, with his stunning depiction of the Lord’s promise of “new heavens and a new earth.” Bad memories erased? No weeping? Eternal rejoicing? Old age and rich fare for all? Fairy tales, only repackaged for an older, wiser crowd? Or the stuff of true faith, the revelation of a magnanimous God?  “I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people,” says the Lord. We are that people, all of us, in every corner of the earth. Even in Lent, let us rejoice.

—Fr. David Mastrangelo, S.J. is superior of the Taylor St. Jesuit community, Chicago, and director of Mission and Identity at Christ the King Jesuit High School, Chicago.