Jesus, Our Pride and Joy

Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one:

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Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God; give, then, generously to others. They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment (53).

As Christian Catholics, we go to Church on Sundays and holy days. We abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, give money to charity, volunteer for the food pantry, and vote pro-life. But what ought to separate us most from the world is not what we do so much as the joy with which we do it.

Now, everyone goes through difficult times where joy is hard to come by. But God made us to experience eternal happiness. And experiencing that happiness starts here and now.

We cannot, however, force ourselves to be joyful. True joy is a natural byproduct of living a life radically devoted to seeking Jesus. Any secular humanist can perform great works of charity and self-sacrifice. But only those who love God and live for Him can share the joy of the Risen Christ.

Our Pride
Sometimes, in our pride, we focus too much on ourselves, on thinking about our faults, on worrying how we look, fixating over what we do, even obsessing over the gifts we have. When we're too self-occupied, we have the tendency to fall into what David Henry Thorough called leading a life of "quiet desperation."

Many of us are too distracted by our cell phones, social media, and television, by our work, by money, and by social status to know what it's like to live a truly joyful life. When we worry too much about our own comfort or what other people think about us, we'll constantly feel desperate for something more.

Our Joy
In truth, we only need to worry about One other - Jesus Christ. Only what He thinks of us matters. Only what He wants us to do matters. When we give our lives to Him, He will supply us with everything we need. Every day, He will reveal Himself to us in little but powerful ways, and we won't be able to help spreading His joy to one another in every encounter.

Jesus says to us: Are you sad, in despair, longing for something more? Come to Me. I want you to be joyful! Yes, there are times of sorrow and mourning. But when you experience my love, no matter what the circumstances, smiling, laughter, and feeling the joy of life won't ever be too far out of reach.

My prayer: Jesus, help me to remember that You are victorious. Help me not to get caught up in the temporary problems and trifles of the day. Instead, give me the strength to live entirely for You. Restore within me the joy of salvation and help me to spread that joy to everyone I meet.

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