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Joy. Seriously.

[caption id="attachment_3513" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Janet Schlicting, OP Blog by Sr. Janet Schlicting, OP[/caption] This week we observe two feasts that are solemn indeed: the Exaltation of the Cross and the Sorrows of Mary.  Songs have been playing in my head: "We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," and "At the cross her station keeping," the Stabat Mater. And strangely, a  song from back in those early days of Renewal, "Joy is like the Rain." It's a bit cheery-bouncy and I'm intrigued by its popping up along with these more solemn considerations. This week might be seen as a little Triduum, celebrating the divine life and love that moves the universe, even as we endure the mystery of suffering and loss which touches us all.  I suspect that in our hearts, as mirrors of the harsh realities of our world today, we tend toward the sadder side of the Mystery, and the gladness, as they say, "not so much." And we have good reason. For us God’s victory is unfinished, remains a Promise. I think death and resurrection are a sort of double helix which is basis for our Christian "genetic code," and neither can be reduced to simple emotion as they interact dynamically in our lives of faith.  So why is Joy pushing its way into my musings? In his book Surprised by Joy C.S. Lewis muses about the difference beween Joy and our day-to-day emotions. It is not pleasure. It is not cheerfulness. It is a miracle of desire, of promise, "… a sensation of unsatisfied desire which is in itself more desirable than any other satisfaction….anyone who has experienced it will want it again."  And anyone "who has tasted it would never exchange it for all the pleasure in the world."  Joy is the Spirit's gift that makes us present to God's future for us. It is both a longed-for and an already-granted treasure. And it is enduring. C.S. Louis also writes, "Joy is the serious business of heaven." And Leon Bloy calls it the "…most infallible sign of the presence of God." As we observe our two-day Little Triduum this week, that Christian Joy is already enfolding Mary weeping at the foot of the cross.  Here in this dark space, joy is being born, as Christ overcomes suffering and evil and death. And so it is for us, God's Beloved in Christ. Joy enfolds us in our doubts and suffering, and is unfolding in and through us, as surely as it did in Mary. We cannot manufacture it - nor can we exactly describe it - but we can recognize it, for it has a certain contagion: a most precious gift to us who are gifts to others, apostles sure of the Happy Ending. Or better, the Happy Unending.

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