Christian Joy is a gift and a fruit which grounds our lives
We light the Rose Colored candle, a symbol of joy
As he looked closer at this girl, he saw that she was kind of perched on her chair. The student realized that she had no arms or legs, just a head, neck and torso. She was wearing a little white dress with red polka dots.
As the couple wheeled her up to the checkout counter, he turned his head toward the girl and gave her a wink. Meanwhile, he took the money from her grandparents and looked back at the girl, who was giving him the cutest, largest smile he had ever seen. All of a sudden her handicap was gone and all that the college student saw was this beautiful girl, whose smile just melted him and almost instantly gave him a completely new sense of what life is all about. She took him from an unhappy college student and brought him into her world; a world of smiles, love and warmth.
The lighting of the pink candle of the Advent Wreath reminds us that Christmas is almost here. The theme of this Sunday's liturgy is joy and Saint Paul tells us to rejoice. "Rejoice always" (Thessalonians 5: 16).
What is joy? The dictionary defines joy as an emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. It is also defined as a state of happiness or felicity. In Catholicism, joy is a state of soul equated with happiness and it is also defined as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Joy is not to be understood as something superficial or immature. The person who is filled with Christian joy possesses an immense treasure because the true Christian can smile and laugh even in the middle of the most terrible adversities and sufferings. Saint Lawrence, when he was being cooked alive by his torturers, joked and told them to turn him over.
Sadness is certainly the epidemic of our times. A lot of people are walking around without a smile on their face. Christianity is completely opposite to selfishness, self-absorption and narcissism. Christianity demands a radical reorientation of our personal lives. We must be empty of all self-seeking.
There are many things in our modern society that are causing many to live very selfish lives. On the top of the list are four things that need to be looked at very carefully. These four things are: the lack of personal prayer, the infrequent use of the Sacrament of Confession, excessive television viewing and contraception. All four things have caused many people to become deeply self-absorbed and isolated.
More and more people are appearing like zombies who are disconnected from their family and their friends.
Saint Thomas Aquinas listed eight Capital or Deadly Sins rather than our list of seven. He maintained that sadness was the worse one of them all. The famous Italian poet Dante, in his Divine Comedy, placed sadness at the lowest level of hell.
We need to laugh and I agree that we should speak of five marks of the Church, rather than four: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Joyful.
In my parish we promote a strong parish community life that allows parishioners and their guests to experience friendship and community. If you want to experience the true joy of Christianity, be like Jesus. Live for others and not for yourself. Be a gift for others. Family life is essential. Parish family life is essential. No man is an island. Community is essential in order to be human and Christian.
Pope Benedict says that "the Church is Eucharistic fellowship" (God is Near Us, p. 115). As living members of the parish family, we are called not only to worship, but to participate in the community life of the parish. The parish is our church family.
"Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in a great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 166).
I firmly believe that after every Eucharistic Celebration, whenever possible, there should always be some kind ...
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