Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Christian joy is a gift of God flowing from a good conscience."

“Let anyone who comes to you go away feeling better and happier. Everyone should see goodness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. Joy shows from the eyes. It appears when we speak and walk. It cannot be kept closed inside us. It reacts outside. Joy is very infectious.” -- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Scripture Text: (PS 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 AND 10C)

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

Pope Francis cautioned all of us who make up the Body of Christ to avoid at all cost “spiritual Alzheimer’s disease.” Francis says, “We see it in those who have lost the memory of their encounter with the Lord; ... in those who build walls and routines around themselves, and thus become more and more the slaves of idols carved by their own hands.”

As he so often has said, Francis offers the antidote to this malaise -- JOY! “Let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations,” he tells the Curia and us. We must tend to our hope, even when we forget the sweet taste of life in times of gloom and sluggishness. Let hope be for us “an anchor of the soul.” (Heb 6:19) As we notice ourselves getting sucked into that which is slowly, sluggishly pulling us into the muck of malaise and the quicksand of resignation, let us feel the weight of that anchor of hope taking hold in the deep waters of God’s covenantal love with us.

Perhaps a daily anchor for us can be one which Pope Francis said he uses daily in his life -- a prayer attributed to St. Thomas More:

“Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumbling, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called ‘I’. Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke and to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others.”

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