24 April 2008

Lasting Joy

"I have told you this to that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete."

One of the most consistent themes in the talks and homilies delivered by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to the United States was that of joy. He spoke about how those who live in hope live differently. Repeatedly, he emphasized the importance of joy as a mark of one who follows the Lord closely.

Perhaps one of the major differences between happiness and joy is that one need not always be "happy" to be full of joy. Surely no one is happy to sit in traffic or find the innards of the photocopy machine jammed with paper. Few people are happy when circumstances beyond their control make them late for an appointment or a meeting. When we live with joy, we see God's hand in these circumstances. Hopefully, we don't see His had jamming the copier, but we see Him permitting us to suffer this or that little inconvenience. Sometimes the events which might make us unhappy are bigger than traffic jams. It is a deep sense of the Lord's presence in each event of our lives -- big or small -- which allows a disciple to be full of joy.

"In everything good or ill that befalls you, dear Sisters, see only the will of God. Then whatsoever the event you will always be tranquil because you will have no love, no desire other than that of God's will. If you keep close to God's will, he will give you light and strength."
St. Jane de Chantal

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