Living the Way of Love: Easter – Lenten Reflection: Living Joy
By: Jeanne Connolly, Director of Charism and Mission
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.” Luke 24:5-6
Triddum and Easter are my favorite time in the Church. Celebrating liturgies during Holy Week have served as an alarm clock for me. A couple of years ago on Palm Sunday, I came down with one of those viruses that knocks one flat. I missed every Holy Week liturgy through Easter Sunday. Being a creature of habit, in a culture of scarcity, I felt lost and rather sorry for myself. I missed the signal to awaken. I missed the trumpet and the alleluia that announced the joy of being one with God and one another. I was looking for joy in all the wrong places. I was seeking the living among the dead.
In The Book of Joy, his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu remind us that joy isn’t announced with the trumpet. Joy isn’t external. Joy comes from “daily thoughts, feelings, and actions” (p. 303). Joy is cultivated by our attitude, humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity. Joy is how we choose to live the way of love. God is always pouring out God’s whole being from and for all eternity. God wants us to be filled with joy, with love, and with excitement. God wants us to see what is beautiful in all of creation and to see “the compassion of so many, the caring, the sharing” (p. 298).
In our culture of scarcity, it is easy to become persuaded that there is a limit on joy. We are told that joy comes from money, title, prestige, and having everything “our way.” We are told that joy comes without pain, suffering, disappointment, or hurt. As Easter people, we know that there is no limit on joy, just as there is no limit on God’s love. Joy isn’t “what” we have or “what” we attain, or the absence of ups and downs that life brings. Joy is how we live our life.
Life is both gift and challenge, grace and responsibility. We continually move between doubt and faith, and security and paralyzing uncertainty. As Easter people, I invite you to hold this blessing from Archbishop Tutu in your heart. May it encourage you in those moments you are tempted to look for joy in all the wrong places.
Dear Child of God, you are loved with a love that nothing can shake, a love that loved you before you were created, a love that will be there long after everything else has disappeared. You are precious with a preciousness that is totally quite immeasurable. God wants you to be like God. Filled with life and goodness and laughter — and joy…. And God says, please my child, help me. Help me to spread love and laughter and joy and compassion.
How will I spread love, laughter, joy and compassion in our world today?
Reference: The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams ©2016