On Joy

December 10, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

From Adrian van Kaam’s reflections on John 17:13-16 in The Tender Farewell of Jesus

Jesus’ joy is the source of our peace and happiness.

All partial joys will deceive us if we do not subordinate them in the deepest joy that Jesus yearns to share with us., so that we may share it with others.

True joy sets us free. It helps us to let go of illusions and to find equanimity.

Christian joy is as dim as a spent light, it may even be extinguished, if it is not nourished by loving care for others. Care and joy can never be separated. One flows forth from and sustains the other. One cannot last without the other.

Christian joy is kept alive by the words Jesus passed on to us. They are a source of faith, hope, and charity. His joy may be hidden in the recesses of our soul.

The radiation of Jesus’ joy in our heart and mind may grow dim due to the pain of dissatisfaction we feel when the world in which we live opposes the words Jesus passed on to us. In God’s own good time, this suffering may be transformed by grace. Then our joy will emanate from our sharing in Christ’s own passion.

In daily life the joyful Christian tries to strike the happy mean between superficial lightheartedness and rigid seriousness, between the person who presses pain behind a false smile and the one who never laughs or enjoys life.

The joy of Christ has nothing to do with raucous wit or an addiction to fun and loud laughter. Neither does it thrive on heaviness of heart. Jesus’ joy is a gentle delight in the goodness of life as a gift of the Trinity to us and others.

Joy loses its fire when people are tempted by a society that does not care for its own and refuses to live by the words of Jesus.

Christians are called with him to live in this world, to heal its pains, to save souls, to preach the coming of the reign of God, while not being of this world.

It (Jesus’ joy) is the joy we long to experience in the core of our being in spite of the hate we may incur from those who resist your ways. We ought not to expect that fidelity to your ways will gain us admiration in a world where human ambition and earthly aspirations are ever ascending.

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