Joy of the Holy Spirit
Dialogue of the Young and the Old
From Unity: Hi kid,
I was wondering what they teach in TM College about the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but I only want to talk about one right now. (The Joy of the Holy Spirit) To tell the truth I have not even looked up what the Church teaches on the subject but in reflecting on the saints and martyrs of the past I see a common trait that seems to be the answer. The reason this is important to me is that I often see people who seem holy and want to get to know them but find them very hard to be around. In all that I read about the great saints, this is not the case. Even the enemies of the great saints found them to be always pleasant to be around. This may not be the joy talked about but it seems to be. I find this joy in the Sisters of Charity and as I have told you before, in Carmel. I new Father Regis Scanlon on a personal level for about a week, and he had that gift of always being in a good and happy mood.
As you know I was in the evangelization business and one thing I always taught is that you cannot sell Our Religion if you are offering unhappiness. Those who sold the religion the best were happy people and you could see the happiness. I remember Father Romagosa sending me a card of his 50th year as a priest. It was a very old woman at Fatima in a candle-light march with Our Lady's statue. Her face was glowing in joy and the card said, "Come and get my joy at the hand of the Lord."
I know from my own life, If I know I am doing the right things in God I am always happy. It does not matter what people say about me or who attacks me, or what people think about me, or if I have problems that day, I remain happy. But when I was not with God but had many toys and lots of money and lots of "friends" and lots of admirers I was not happy.
In the writings of the early Church Fathers it is said that in the Coliseum every martyr had a smile on his or her face even after death. I suppose it comes from "If God be with me, what do I have to fear?", but I reflect on the apparition of Guadalupe where Our Lady said, "Juanito, Are you not in the folds of my arms. Are you not in the folds of My veil? Am I not your mother? What do you have to fear?" I reflect on this everyday and seem to fear nothing. Sometimes I get aggravated by stupid things and then in a minute or two it goes away when I think that I am a child of Mary.
This joy, if I am right about what I see, is so wonderful to be around that I want to be around no one else. Those who are constantly talking about the faults of others, seem to me only trying to make themselves look better in others eyes but pointing out the faults of others, and this runs me down emotionally to the point that I cannot stand being around them. My Sister-in-law sent this following story which inspired me to write this email.
Twinkies and Root Beer
A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root beer and he started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an
old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he
offered him a Twinkie.
He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating
and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He
gave him his biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy? "He replied, "I had lunch with God." But
before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"
Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park
with God." However, before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives always for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
Your thoughts, Rick
Hello, Rick. It is very windy right now, and I am apprehensive of yet another big oak tree falling down. The last one severely damaged a dorm in its fall and twenty girls had to be relocated. Luckily it was while no one was around otherwise someone could have been killed. Anyway, it is a very appropriate day to touch on joy because it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, Who manifested Himself with wind and flame on Pentecost day.
I asked myself what joy is and how it comes about when you brought the subject up. All I could think of at the time was that joy comes when one is united to a S/source of joy. A silly little lyric from Gilbert and Sullivan came to mind from HMS Pinafore where the main characters start singing "O joy and rapture unforseen, the cloudy sky is now serene..."
Joy and Rapture Unforeseen
The joy and rapture in this case comes from the fact that three couples are betrothed after many overcoming many obstacles. They rejoice in their love now able to flourish freely, being united in pledged affection with the persons of their heart. This joy, I know is from a human standpoint. Union of a kind has been achieved. People cannot be but joyful when united with the person they love.
The Cloudy Sky is now Serene
All is calm for the moment. Joy reigns supreme. Yet I do not think that this joy can be deep and abiding because my guess is that the characters are not virtuous enough to sustain it. Clouds, little though they may be, will float and dim the bright sky of matrimonial love. These clouds are no longer the obstacles of birth and rank but of the interior dispositions that lead to friction between a couple. Why do we see so many jaded married couples lacking the peaceful atmosphere of overflowing joy? Because joy arises from union, and union that is tarnished by petty selfishness, coldness, fights, etc. will not be the proper ground for joy to grow in.
This is all very well, you might say. But, you ask, what does that have to do with good, holy people who just aren't that fun to get to know? Rick, I too have seen pious people. And I have met joyous people religious and lay. The lives of the saints are true in portraying holy people pleasant to be with. Let me say why I think so, using the imagery from HMS Pinafore.
Joy and Rapture Unforeseen
The operations of the Holy Spirit are delicate. The mire of sin and imperfection must be overcome and wiped away before the eyes of the soul can see the God it desires to be united with. This sight is in faith. It finds joy in seeing the love God has for it, and feels united to its beloved. No other joy can be compared to this fine and delicate one.
The Cloudy Sky is now Serene
O happy and on the way to being holy person! God, the beloved of the soul is united with the fire of charity. Yet this moment is fleeting. The clouds of imperfections and temptations float over the clear sky. Only if the soul conquers these can it be true to its love for God. Only if the love be true can there be true unity and joy.
What exactly do I mean by this example? Well, to be honest, I think that only the heroic souls are truly joyful. Those who give in habitually to this or that temptation which harms the union between God and the soul are not being strong in their love. They are not making their union prosper but are making it wilt and fade. They can do many good deeds, but they are not the total self immolation to God. Only when things are well ordered can there be true joy. And that is why I say that you will meet with very pious people, but most of them will not be sacrificing their all to God, and so they will not always be the most pleasant to be with.
Laudetur Jesus Christus! In aeternum, amen.
Unity: Amen! Scientists have said one thing about the human mind that I agree with. All mental illnesses have one thing in common and that is a pre-occupation with the self. The saints who have this joy seem to never think about themselves, but are absorbed in the needs or successes of others. Unhappiness is unfulfilled expectations, but saints have no expectations except Heaven and are therefore never unhappy. They do not justify sins, but admit them so that God can forgive them because the Holy Spirit has convinced them of sin. But that is another subject.