Joy is often elusive to the Christian, it is sometimes even neglected or ignored. For some, being joyful seems tacky or childish, or unimportant in the grand scheme of Christian living. But in truth, it is the very essence of our practice as Catholics.

“Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”G.K. Chesterson

In a culture of restless self-seeking, we are falsely convinced of what a happy life is – no pain, no difficulties, no suffering. But a Christian’s joy is unique, for it sweetens even the most bitter trials in life. Joy has the power to transform our suffering into a pleasing sacrifice.

God yearns for our being in Heaven so much, that He converted the punishment for our sins, into the very means of our redemption. Our trials, our sorrows, our human suffering is the means to obtaining eternal life. We have a Father who wants us with Him. The Cross and the Resurrection are proofs of His Love.

The paradoxical philosophy, “Joy in the Sorrow”, does not attempt to make a fool out of the Christian, forcing him to downplay his pain, no. Rather, we ought to embrace suffering as an opportunity to love God. A joyful soul seeks any opportunity – especially suffering – to love God more.

Our joy is rooted in an understanding (albeit limited) of His Goodness, His Mercy, and His Love. Though we are still so far from fully grasping the Mystery of His Love, even the smallest refraction of the light of His Love is sufficient to illuminate the darkest corners of our soul. The Lord permits we experience joy in this earthly life, so that we may desire to obtain in it once again its fullness in Heaven. This life is merely a foretaste of what is yet to come, should we desire to be in Heaven with all our being. Even the term ‘joy’ itself alludes to something that goes beyond our feeble and earthly existence. Happiness is fleeting, and can be easily attained through material wealth, worldly success, blissful moments of amusement. But subtract these from a man’s life, and you have also subtracted his happiness. Meanwhile, Easter Joy is God-given. It does not dissipate with the loss of amusement, or positive feeling. In fact, it flourishes even in our darkest moments.

“Joy is the happiness of love – love aware of its own inner happiness. Pleasure comes from without, and joy comes from within, and it is therefore, within reach of everyone.”Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

This season, we rejoice in His Resurrection, because the very bane of our existence – sin – has finally been relieved. Christ is Risen as an example of new life after death. He proves death is not the end, but only the beginning of new life.

As witnesses to this joy, it should overflow from our hearts and be shared with our neighbours.

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