[A]t heart, Christianity is not about alleviating physical misery or imparting an exciting and consoling message. At heart, Christianity is a communication of life…
--Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Love’s Sacred Order: The Four Loves Revisited
My friend Tensie lives up on the Central Coast of California with her husband Dennis and their two kids, Rozella and Thomas. Tensie and Dennis run the Guadalupe Catholic Worker: distributing food, running a small free clinic. The kids go to public school and are voracious readers, music lovers, group singers, jokesters, creative, generous and almost unbelievably well-mannered (as in they stand when you enter the room, serve you at table, and when you leave go stand on the porch and wave goodbye until your car is out of sight).
At night the four of them gather in the living room, light a candle, and have a period of evening prayer. (If you stay with them, you get to participate in this sublime event). They read from the Gospels, maybe, or a poem, or a bit of a story, and reflect on it. They go around the room and everyone tells something they were grateful for that day.
A few Advents ago, they'd been faithfully sticking to their prayer schedule. They'd done their evening prayer the night before, but the next morning was hard. There'd been a lot of hard mornings, the way Tensie tells it. And suddenly she saw a sheet of paper scoot under her and Dennis's bedroom door. Right away, she recognized Thomas's handwriting. She bent down, picked the paper up, and read: "WHERE IS YOUR JOY?"
Fr. Luigi Giussani notes: “Charity is the law of being and comes before natural likes and dislikes and feelings. Therefore, we can “do for others” while lacking any enthusiasm. There may very well be no so-called “concrete” result. For us, the only “concrete” attitude is attention to the person, that is, love for him.”
Joy is not necessarily exuberance, in other words. Joy does not necessarily even much show itself externally. Joy is a kind of trust maybe.
|ROSES BLOOMING AMONG THE THORNS|