WITHIN OUR REACH: JOY

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)  infamously taunted Christians about the lack of joy on their faces and in their lives. “They would have to sing better songs for me to believe in their Saviour: his disciples would have to look more redeemed!”
Nietzsche the German atheist Philosopher,  had a point. Christians can often appear joyless, not joyful. We can literally become ‘killjoys’, murdering the spirit of light heartedness that signifies closeness to God.
There can be a constant ‘moralism’ in some of our Catholic rhetoric that does nothing but bemoan the evils all around us. It is counter-productive and we end up talking to ourselves. By contrast, Jesus attracted people to him with joy – he did not preach ‘at’ his fellow Galileans. If we are without joy, we exude displeasure and are prone to pick fights. Others perceive a hostile streak in us. We can insult people. We lack patience. What flows from our mouths are not blessings but barbs of bitterness.
We lack gratitude. We also lack human warmth and seem to be angry at ourselves and the world. The profile of such joylessness is clear and distasteful: bitter, impatient, pugnacious, hostile, cold and aloof – all ‘killjoy’ qualities. By contrast, as Pope Francis constantly reminds us, Christian joy is buoyant and warm, light-hearted, gracious and life-giving.
….. Br Mark O’Connor FMS, December 2013 Director of Archdiocesan Evangelisation Office

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