My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior (Lk. 1:46-47).
One of Mary's many titles is "Cause of our Joy." This would seem obvious, as she is both the mother who brings us Jesus, and our own blessed mother, through a gift made by the Savior at Calvary (Jn. 19:26-27). Mary becomes our holy mother whose assistance and example points us ever to Jesus, and the joy of heaven, our ultimate joy with him.
Joy's attraction is intentional. It's infectious. It captures our attention, and sometimes knocks us off balance, in a good way.
Joy should be every Christian's middle name. But we are not all there yet. I cannot lie and pretend I am immune to joy-busters that beset my life now and again. But this Sunday, I have the chance to hit the re-set button, to reconsider and re-align my thinking and my heart's desire to the joyful aim of my Advent practice.
One of the most surprising and joyful lines that I have ever found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is this: "Faith is the beginning of eternal life" (CCC, par. 163). It puts a fine point on what this Christian rejoicing is all about: the goal of our journey here is the beatific vision or seeing God "face to face." So, faith is the beginning of eternal life!
The best of what we see here on earth is but a foretaste of what is to come. In other words, we experience a portion of the Ultimate Joy in some measure already.
St. Basil, writing in the 4th century: "it is as if we already possessed the wonderful thing which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy." And we have Jesus Christ to thank for the blessed reality of our redemption. And we can start, very simply, by rejoicing in his birth.
This Sunday, if we haven't already, let us take baby steps toward Jesus until we come to know the fullness of joy.
Even the small joys that we experience in life come from Christ; let us sample the joy that awaits us in heaven. With joy, it all counts. Yeah, even small simple stuff, like a pink candle.
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice (Ps. 105:3).