At the center of our faith is the Eucharist, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. It is the source and summit of the Catholic Faith. Everything we do as a people flows from and goes back to him. The Eucharist is the number one reason to be Catholic, to become Catholic, or to return to the Catholic faith.
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and not that from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
This is the foundation of our joy, that through our faith in Jesus Christ we have been saved and redeemed. Death has no hold on us. Through our baptism we become adopted children of God the Father.
We have been provided the structure needed to live a joy filled life in Exodus 20, 1-17 and Luke 10:27. The Ten Commandments flow directly from the nature of God and establish morality which shows us how to live just and upright lives. Jesus focuses these commandments into the great Commandment – to love our God with all that we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
There are three things that are repeated throughout all Holy Scripture. Anytime God interacts with his people, either directly or through one of his angels, we are always told, “Be not afraid. Peace be with you.” When we trust in God we have no reason to fear anything. We can be at peace knowing that he will always provide exactly what we need. Even during times of great distress or persecution we can still live joyful lives through our trust that God will always be there with us.
True Christianity is never a private relationship. Selfishness is the true root of all evil. We are called to love and serve our brothers, our neighbors, even our enemies. The more we empty ourselves in service to the other the more room Jesus has to live within us. Where Jesus is there is joy. There are three ways that Catholics fulfill this calling:
Servant – We are called to directly serve others. We are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, care for the sick, visit those in prison, and to bury the dead. These are the corporal works of mercy. The measure of mercy you give will be the measure of mercy you shall receive.
Shepherd – We are called to lead and guide others, both directly and as example in how we live our lives. We are called to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, offer fraternal correction, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted, and pray for the dead. These are the spiritual works of mercy.
Steward – We are called to be good stewards of everything within our care. Jesus was asked by the rich man what he must do to inherit eternal life. The answer was to sell everything and follow Jesus. When we choose to follow Christ we recognize that everything we have ultimately belongs to God and that we are nothing more than stewards of these things. We are called to care for all of God’s creation. He gave us dominion over all of the earth and its creatures to care for it and not to use it recklessly for our own profit. We are to ensure that objects under our control are used properly and not for selfish gain. With what we take we can make a living; with what we give we can make a life.
True joy starts with Jesus at your center and emanates outward with love, service, and stewardship. The more you empty yourself in love and service to others the more God fills the space and the greater your joy becomes.
Be a blessing to all you meet and allow them to be a blessing to you.