“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:11
The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are
poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.
Gaudium et Spes, Preface
We’re months away from Advent, but the summer sky is full of stars. As children, we were encouraged to look up, to the stars, to find inspiration as they point out for us the way. In Scripture, Abram is assured of God’s promise of the future by the stars in the sky. The star of Bethlehem led shepherds and kings to the Christ Child. In the Book of Revelation, the woman is presented with the twelve stars around her, reflecting the tribes of Israel.
Look up. Look ahead. I use this phrase a lot around here- I find it helpful for me to focus on my priorities, my work, my vocation. We have spent too much time, wasted too many dreams, looking back to a world that simply doesn’t exist anymore (and maybe never did) and looking down, awash in sorrow, pain, and grief, feeling almost incapable of looking ahead with any expectations. Yes, there is much to look at and be sad about today in our world. Does that mean we should ignore the problems of our lives, our world, our times? Most certainly not.
We are called to address the problems, worries, and doubts of this dark world, not with sad resignation and fear, but with humble and open hearts to the possibilities that only the Holy Spirit can give. Some people are afraid to look ahead because they’re vision is limited to the earth, only to the here and now- our Christian faith calls each and all of us to look ahead with hope- that’s the key here. It seems that years ago people spoke so joyfully about the future- they seemed to dream more today, there seems so much dystopian visions, doubt, and fear foreboding- have we lost the ability to hope and dream of a new world, new ideas, new possibilities?
Our loving God reminds us that as much as He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He is also the God Who makes all things new, Who refreshes and renews us every day, every moment, with His grace and love. The timeless God of all that was, is and will be, calls us to newness of life, to cast off our sorrow and fear. Is it risky? Of course it is- anything worth it is. It’s a chance we’re taking, and it’s worth everything, and whatever we may lose on this earth, we will receive so much more of the blessings God will give us. I take great inspiration that perhaps the most important document in the Second Vatican Council, its Pastoral Constitution, is entitled Gaudium et SpesHope and Joy. It is THAT Hope and Joy that attracts us to Christ, to bring some of those gifts to the world.
“We must attract them by joy in order to lead them to its source, the heart of Christ.”
St. Katherine Drexel