In the midst of whatever this year has brought you or your family or friends, halfway through 2021, St. Catherine’s continues to offer signs of joy from our daily lives and then shared with others.

From our beautiful parish garden that surrounds our church, to the diligent mother-bird who warmly, lovingly sat on our main church door light until birth occurred, to the joy of finally receiving a phone call from your granddaughter. It’s present all around us, folks. Previously, I reminded you that happiness is not joy. As a feeling, happiness can enter and exit in sixty minutes or seconds. Joy sustains because it is holy.

A Church prayer calls it “holy joy.” I didn’t know that joy needed an adjective but I was wrong. The added word tells us that its origin lies not within us but lives within us because it is blessed. Happiness can be bought with a fifth of scotch or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Joy is achieved, not purchased. It begins and ends with the creativity of our Creator. I suspect God knew our human journeys would have its bumps and wrong turns. Times that sometimes are of our own making or times that happen to us.

Joy supercedes our own whims and wits and is infused with the incarnation won for us through the sacrifice of God’s Son. I’ve stopped arguing with unbelievers. It is futile. You can’t sell faith. You can’t even find faith; faith finds you.

That’s the sharing I mentioned at the beginning. Telling people that you’re full of joy may only lead to a 211 call. Joy is witnessed and seen in the way you walk, even if a bit slower these aging days. That sincere smile to a stranger. That genuine comment told to you or told to someone about you – “There’s something about her that’s just so peaceful and welcoming.” This is joy’s transmission.

Please don’t pray for joy. Doesn’t happen that way. It already lives within and anxious to come and to fill your voids and strengthen your mountains. I felt joy writing this because I knew I wasn’t the one doing the typing.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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