The joy found in the Catholic faith is something that I believe attracts many people. I find myself drawn to this joy as well, even as someone living on the inside. This joy, which is not like the joy that the world brings, is so beautiful. And it can easily be shared with those we love.
Think of the happiness that eludes from a religious sister’s face as she carries out God’s plan for her life. Or a mother smile as she watches her child learn to pray the rosary for the first time. Or a dynamic speaker who is fully in ‘their element’ as they speak about the love of God or the ways that Christ has made Himself manifest to them.
What’s amazing is that all of these figurative people have one source for their joy and fulfilment; they find this completeness in Christ. He is the center of their lives and their mission as Catholic Christians. They have felt the love the God has for them and wish to share it with all those who need it.
There are so many aspects of our lives that bring joy and happiness to even our darkest days. Please pay attention to those people you know that have the deepest, most authentic joy, and imitate them. I hope this list of ideas to ponder will help you in your journey of joy as well. We are people of the light, so shine brightly!!!
1. Not being ashamed of who they really are
We are followers of Christ, first and foremost. We may have other traits that we think define us as different or special, but truly, Christ is the center of it all and that will never change. He is the root of our identity and he always will be.
By pretending that we are anything other than Children of God we mar our personhood at its core. But being who we really are with others shows that we are not ashamed of our identity in Christ. By showing ourselves in this way, we are able to show others the joy of recognizing their true identity as well and that is a beautiful thing.
2. Complete Trust in the God who cares for them
I feel like almost everyone on the planet has had trust issues at some point in their lives. And while trusting humans can be hard at times, trusting God can be hard too. It can be hard to resign our own wills to anyone. The point, however, is that Christ will always have our best interest in mind as he leads us along the paths of life.
Even with this knowledge, many people will have a hard time trusting God with everything. I know I have always struggled with this idea of unaltered trust. But by seeing the happiness that trust brings to people, it is so much easier. Just think. Some of the happiest saints who have ever lived gave everything to God.
There is also a certain burden of thinking that we have to figure this all out on our own. If people really had to ‘figure it all out’ without the help of a loving God, they would be pretty stressed out. We relinquish control, yes, but we don’t relinquish our happiness in any way, because Christ is basically ensuring that we will be happy by living under his plan and protection.
3. The recognition of Christ’s hand in everything
The presence of God can be seen all around us!! It really is amazing to realize that everything that is moving and breathing and speaking is a motion of the hand of God. He is constantly making Himself known to His people, constantly showering His love and mercy upon us. He wishes to bring us joy through the little and big things of life, as we see Him in everything.
It can be hard to recognize this unique presence, but when we do so, others realize that presence as well. I know people who are very in tune to His daily work and it is so easy to recognize this when I hear them talking about it with such passion. The presence of God has the ability to elude towards those who need it most. That is part of the reason why we always find comfort when we surround ourselves with people who live lives of faith as well.
4. Knowing that there is so much more than just this life
This life is not our own. We are here for a time, living for Christ. But by knowing this, we also understand that there is so much more to our little lives than just living. We’re not just here to show up; we’re here to play our part in Salvation History. And when we live for Christ, with Him at the center of our very being, we know that we have so much to look forward to in eternity.
Roman’s 8:18 says “I consider that the sufferings of this time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us”. While on this earth, we will suffer, but the realization that there is so much to look forward to in the hereafter is our strength. Even in the times of trial, that is where we draw our strength.
5. Letting Christ Shine through them
We are the light of the world, yes. We are the chosen children of God, yes. We are called to a greatness like none other, yes. But we are called to let these things shine from Christ through us, His instruments, and then to the World. We are not the ‘main attraction’. We are only pieces of the puzzle. But the church calls each and every one of us to come together in order to call more and more people to His arms. Without the community of Christ and his children working together, the faith would surely die.
By being instruments for Christ, we allow Him to grow the church in just the ways that He knows are needed. We can find joy in knowing that Christ will lead us where He knows we can be of the most use. Once we enlist in His work, the Spirit will surely make it manifest to us and all we encounter.
I hope and pray that you will bring light and joy to as many people as you can today and always. Shine His light, my friends!!!