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Easter Joy: Weekly Message for 05-11-2021
Dear Friends in Christ,
Easter Sunday was weeks ago, but the Easter season continues, and in this sixth week of the Easter Season it’s a good moment to see how your Easter joy is doing.
Joy is something deeper than comfort or convenience, which is why it is deeper and more lasting than simply feeling good. Its source is also deeper and more lasting. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) noted that “There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter” (n.6). He acknowledges that the joy of the Gospel is sometimes just a flicker of light born of a certainty that “when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved” (n.6). Without this joy the desire to do good fades (n.2). Joy is key to proclaiming the Gospel, which is why Evangelii Gaudium was not the only document where the Holy Father had the importance of joy on his mind:
- The Post-synodal Exhortation on love in the family was entitled Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Love is much deeper than a superficial and passing happiness and being aware that we are infinitely loved is the source of our joy.
- His Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world was entitled Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be Glad”—taken from Matthew 5:12). Our Lord encourages us to rejoice and be glad in this Gospel passage when we are persecuted or humiliated for his sake, the moments where the joy may be reduced to a “flicker” but is not extinguished.
- His Apostolic Constitution on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties was entitled Veritatis Gaudium (The Joy of Truth). In it, he said that “The joy of truth expresses the restlessness of the human heart until it encounters and dwells within God’s Light, and shares that Light with all people” (n.1). Many people today pursue loves and joys that ultimately turn out to be false or fleeting, but when they experience the true lasting love found in God they cannot help but share it with others.
Saint Paul VI wrote about Christian Joy in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete in Domino (Rejoice in the Lord) in 1975 during a Jubilee year that focused on reconciliation and renewal. He spoke about how difficult it was to attain joy and why, prophetic words that apply today as well:
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. For joy comes from another source. It is spiritual. […] in many regions and sometimes in our midst, the sum of physical and moral sufferings weighs heavily… These miseries are perhaps not deeper than those of the past but they have taken on a worldwide dimension. They are better known, reported by the mass media—at least as much as the events of good fortune—and they overwhelm people’s minds.
Haven’t we all been overwhelmed at some point by current events around the world, just a click away? It can sap us of our joy, but that’s because it distances us from the source of our joy: spiritual time, in silence, in our hearts. The source of our joy is Our Lord and an awareness of his infinite love for us. That comes from prayer and becomes service. If you want to stoke up the fire of your joy, take it to Our Lord in prayer and focus on him and what you can do for others.
May you rejoice and be glad this Easter season and always.
Father Nikola Derpich, L.C.
Maximizing the Mass