“Joy is the permanent pulsation of the soul.”
– G. K. Chesterton
Since we are in the Easter season, it seems a good time to write about the Virtue of Joy: Easter Joy. In seeking to live an ethical life we want to do so joyfully, not as if it is a pain or a sorrow to do so.
There is a wonderful book titled Journey into Joy by Andrew Walker. It is subtitled: “Stations of the Resurrection.” In the Roman Catholic tradition, we have what are known as the Stations of the Cross – 14 moments in the Passion of Jesus Christ. When we do these stations we re-live with Jesus his suffering and death. In “Stations of the Resurrection” we have the opportunity to rejoice with Jesus and his followers in his life after death. Here are some of these Stations. Can you come up with any others?
- The Discovery of the Empty Tomb (John 20: 1-10)
- The Angel Speaks to the Women (Luke 24: 4-8)
- Jesus Appears to His Mother (Common sense points to this one)
- Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20: 11-18)
- The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35)
- The Revelation to St. Paul (Acts 9: 3-9)
- The Ascension (Acts 1: 6-11)
- Pentecost (Acts 2: 1-11)
The heart of the Christian message is not the cross but the empty tomb; it is resurrection and new life. Consider the story of the father and his wayward son, in St. Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 15 – his overwhelming joy at the son’s return. Jesus’ first miracle was at a party! In Cana. In the middle of his last discourse, he said to his disciples: “All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete” (John 15: 11).
Connecting this truth to the world we live in, might we say there is joy when:
Those running for political office display a keen sense of compassion for those in our country that are most vulnerable.
Men, women, and children are no longer exploited or trafficked but treated with respect.
People in business have a reverential attitude toward the integrity of creation; not a domineering attitude that seeks merely to exploit it.
Refugees, especially families with children, are given safe harbour in the country of their choice and there is a genuine effort made to keep families together by said country.
Another Easter virtue is Hope. I am indebted to my friend, Luk, who lives in Belgium, for this reflection on hope by French poet Charles Peguy (1873-1914). The following is an excerpt from Peguy’s “The Portal of the Mystery of Hope.”
Faith sees what is.
In Time and in Eternity.
Hope sees what will be.
In time and for eternity.
Hope sees what has not yet been and what will be.
She loves what has not yet been and what will be.
On the uphill path, sandy and troublesome.
On the uphill road.
Dragged along, hanging from the arms of her two older
sisters (charity and faith),
Who hold her by the hand,
The little hope.
And in between her two older sisters she seems to let
herself be carried.
Like a child who lacks the energy to walk.
And is dragged along the road in spite of herself
But in reality it is she who moves the other two
And who carries them,
And who moves the whole world
And who carries it.
NOTE: This will be the last newsletter until September. The editor is going on a four-month sabbatical. For a Jesuit this involves Rest, Renewal, and Research.
My book on mercy – Becoming a Person of Mercy – is scheduled for publication in mid-July. You will be able to order it from 23rd Publications in the U.S. and Novalis in Canada.
Have an enjoyable summer.
(Contact Fr. Max Oliva, SJ, at email@example.com)