Build the house that I may take pleasure in it. 

Building a house can be a long and arduous process. Some days are full of excitement, like the day the roof is completed. But for the most part, the process is marked by the hard work of placing one brick on top of another in the belief that, eventually, it will all come together.

That’s the kind of situation the Jewish people were in when the prophet Haggai proclaimed God’s word to them. They had returned from exile in Babylon and had begun rebuilding the Temple, but the work was slow and opposition from neighboring peoples was great. Ultimately, the people became discouraged and gave up the project. They settled into their own homes and left the house of the Lord in shambles. Speaking through Haggai, God told the people to get on with it. “Build the house,” God said, “that I may take pleasure in it” (Haggai 1:8).

Just as a homebuilder might celebrate “Roofing Day,” God promised that he would celebrate when the Temple was completed. And that promise of celebration—and of the blessings that would flow on that day—moved the people to take up the work again (Ezra 5:1-2).

We all get discouraged by the daily grind of “building” our spiritual houses. Some of the work can be tedious and repetitive. But see what God tells the exiles: “That I may take pleasure in it” (Haggai 1:8). Even as you keep on building, know that God takes pleasure in you. He sees that your spiritual house is still a work in progress, but he also sees how far you have already come. He rejoices every time you come to him in prayer or lift your heart to him at Mass. He smiles every time you choose to be generous. He takes pleasure every moment that you say no to temptation and yes to his Spirit. All of these actions help to build your inner “house,” and God takes delight in each of them. He takes delight in you!

So as you “get on with it” and build a house for the Lord today, remember that God, the Architect and Master Builder of all creation, sees and honors your work.

“Father, help me to trust you as I continue to build a house for you in my heart.”

Haggai 1:1-8
Psalm 149:1-6, 9
Luke 9:7-9


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