Joyful or Depressed?

Joy is the hallmark of the Christian, or at it least should be.
by Father Nicolás Schwizer | Source: Schoenstatt Press

Christians must be joyful and must radiate their joy to those around them. We must create or maintain a realm of joy in our families, communities, and apostolic circles.

When was the last time we laughed heartily? I am not referring to that courteous smile to be pleasant to others or that faked giggle on a not so funny joke, but rather, that sincere, healthy, spontaneous laugh which comes from within. It does not mean that one has to be always laughing, but one must manifest always the fruit of the Spirit which is joy.

What faces do others see in us? A cold face expression does not express honor for God whom we profess to serve and glorify in love. “Either change faces or change gurus,” said the master to his disciple who considered it bad publicity for his school to have sad disciples at his side. A famous American judge did not become a pastor because the clergymen he knew, by their appearance and conduct, appeared to be funeral home employees. “Do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad,” says Saint Paul (Eph 4:30). It is very possible that the Spirit may not feel at home behind serious faces and bitter expressions. If we bear God within, it should be noticeable on our face.

It is not about forcing a smile or pretending to be joyful as it is done in the modern business of persuasion for sales purposes. It is not about advertising smiles, or rented faces to gain clients. Among so many faked smiles, it is not strange that we lose the feeling of authentic joy, which is free and spontaneous. The world must recover the ability to be joyful within and without.

Perhaps some things must change. If until now my brother or my sister put my nerves on edge and needed to avoid me, in the future it should be different. Or, if I have become touchy with my parents, I should change my attitude with them. Perhaps until now we seemed like a bottle of champagne whose cork easily shoots into the sky.

We should make an effort to be joyful and abounding in happiness as it pertains to a young person. We should become small eagles who do not rest, who always anew want to reach the sun, who are always happy, and who also remain joyful when God sends crosses and suffering.

We should give to others all the love and affection we can…..also kisses, embraces, caresses. In the family and in marriage we cannot and should not renounce these noble and sensitive joys. In family life, coldness is not allowed! If we do not make our families a realm of happiness, the children will escape and seek other joys which may not be so healthy. If the children find all the joys they need in their own families, they will be satisfied there.

In the long run, in a community, there will either be an atmosphere of joy or a swamp atmosphere. Something in the middle is not possible. I think we are all aware of the great importance of joy so that there will be a good spirit in our groups… our families…..and in our hearts.

Questions for Reflection

1. Do we constantly depend on our moods: Happy today, tomorrow in bad humor?
2. Are we happy persons, optimists who also see the good side of things?
3. Are we pessimists?
4. How do we react to the blows and problems of life, to suffering and the cross?

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Translation: Carlos Cantú
Edited by:

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