When we look at the world around us, it is easy to get caught up in all the negativity and get distracted and discouraged by the trails that occur in everyday life. It is in those moments that we are called to cling to Jesus and listen to his word. We know that the word of God says that God is GOOD and he works all things for us for his divine purpose. Let’s look at the trails of life from a different perspective, perhaps these trails are not meant to break us, perhaps they are a gift to us to be more like Jesus. ‘Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.’ (James 1:2-3). If we shift our focus to what God is doing through the trails in our lives, we can begin to see these trials as joy, as God ultimately wants what is good for us.
However, joy cannot be put on or faked, you either have it or you don’t. Joy is the essence of who God is. Each day we have a choice, a choice to choose joy and that joy can only be found in our faith, in loving God, joy is a gift from Him that cannot be taken away. ‘These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full’ (John 15:11). We have joy only when we look outside ourselves to Christ. Without Christ, joy is not only hard to find, it’s impossible to find. Real joy exists even amid real sadness, and real joy doesn’t always mean there’s a smile on our faces. C.S. Lewis rightly said that “joy is the serious business of heaven.” Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. ‘Do not be grieved (sad, sorrowful), for the joy of the LORD is your strength’, (Nehemiah 8:10). The saints lived in God’s Presence and in His joy. St. Francis of Assisi is the most famous, joyful saint.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church opens with the following consideration: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for”(No. 27). Through the journey of life, we all have “an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God” (Enc. Deus caritas est, 6).
In today’s world, so many people are so far away from God that we have to relearn the joys of life. Savouring the true joys of life, through our family, friends, serving others, love for knowledge, for art and beauty. All of us need to rediscover these joys. We have become so self absorbent in the ‘me’ culture we have forgotten the very basics of human kindness and gentleness and the goodness in people’s hearts. We are all pilgrims in this life, going to our heavenly eternal home. We are all brethren, with those who do not believe, those who are seeking, and those who have a sincere desire for truth and good. May God show his face to all those who seek him with a sincere heart.