Joy — by Alex Weibel
If you know me, you probably know that my favorite book is “Love Does” by Bob Goff. I can’t help to also think that “Joy Does.” I think that Joy is an action, a way of living. Joy is a way that we live when we FULLY know the love of Christ. “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” John 16:22. Jesus is telling the disciples that it is ok to be sad that He is leaving them because yes, emotions are natural. BUT, He tells them that NO ONE can take away their Joy. That because they fully know the love of Christ, this Joy will still be present through the good and the bad.
How do we live a life of Joy? I don’t know the exact answer, but I can share with you the way of life that I believe brings Joy. I think that when we fully give of ourselves is when we experience true Joy. This past summer, I read the book “Letters to a Young Catholic,” which is all about this idea of “all-in-Catholicism.” George Weigel talks about how as Catholics, and often, we see Worship and Service as two different parts of the Catholic faith — a lot of the time, service being an “extra” part. This is what he describes as “and/or” Catholicism. “All-in-Catholicism” is worshiping God as we are called to worship, BUT completing that worship with works of service and charity. One of our FOCUS Missionaries Augustine once said, “Works are not saying that we are going to Heaven; they are evidence that we are going to Heaven.” We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and if we are not living this out, we are not fully living out our Catholic faith. Jesus told us to go out and make disciples of all nations. If we are solely worshiping, we are “and/or” Catholics and will never fully know this Joy of Christ.
One Sunday we sang a song in Mass that read, “you now have no hands but mine, no feet but mine, no ears but mine, no eyes but mine.” As Catholics, we are called to share this Joy that comes from knowing Christ, and if we are keeping it inside these walls of Newman, we are not doing our job.
Last semester, a friend and I decided that we were going to make weekly trips to downtown Columbia to try and build friendships with the people who sit on the streets. The first man who we sat down with was named John. He began talking to us and, a few minutes into the conversation, asked if we were involved in Bible studies. We answered yes but asked him how he knew. He said, “I can see it in your eyes. I can just tell.” John was able to see the Joy that we have in our hearts by us giving him our time and being present with him. The other day, I saw John as I was walking downtown and he said he was having a rough day. At one point he said “No one cares; I have no opinion because I am homeless.” Guys! He gets passed by day after day. How is he supposed to know that he is a beloved son of Christ and is so deserving of this full Joy if we never show him! There are so many Johns in this community! Discipleship goes beyond walls of Newman. Discipleship goes beyond this campus. Jesus has called each of us to be in Columbia, Missouri, at this moment in our lives for a reason. We are a part of a community beyond these Newman walls and beyond this campus. We are a part of this Columbia community. We are called to share this Joy that we have found in Christ because “Joy does.” Joy is an action, and Joy can bring people to know the love of Christ as well. We are called to worship, but we are also called to serve. I challenge you to not just “and/or” Catholicism but to TRULY, and FULLY, know the love of Christ through “all-in-Catholicism”.
Alex is a student at MU studying Elementary Education from Minneapolis MN. She loves Coffee, Dark Chocolate, crafts, and being active in the outdoors. Her two favorite places in CoMO to spend her free time is 54 country and down at the river.