Apr 8, 2013

Spreading Joy

"Where there is sadness, joy"
The news each day is very depressing save the wonderful news of Easter and the holy activities of our beloved new Pope Francis. It is painful to hear about the numerous attacks and murders of our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in the Middle East. Additionally, the rampant spread of secularism, the failing economies of the Euro nations, and the ranting threats of some world leaders, shows the condition of our world today as not very joyful. Yet, God has placed us here as Secular Franciscans for a reason. This is our time on earth.

Looking back over world history do we see many perfect times? Has peace and goodness ever had more than just a few good years dispersed throughout the centuries? Struggles on earth began in Genesis right through to the persecution of the Church by a long list of oppressors and will continue until the end of time. We aren’t in heaven yet!

Through it all the Catholic Church survives “the gates of hell” and will until the end of time. We are called to imitate Jesus like Francis of Assisi who saw perfect Joy in even personal   suffering… if we offer it to Our Lord. Our purpose today as Secular Franciscans has not changed for 800 years. Our main role is to support our Church’s mission in the New Evangelization that has been voiced now by three Popes! After the synod last year in Rome on the New Evangelization we are sure to be hearing more soon. We need to support our bishops and priests in this effort.

We Secular Franciscans have a charism of spreading Joy that we need to tap into and spread to our fellow Christians. We first need to be joyful ourselves than spread it through contact with others. This can be done in many ways, but I would like to suggest a very simple way. Marcus Grodi, host of the EWTN Journey Home program, explained it best:

Spell out the word J-O-Y: J- is for Jesus, O- is for Others and Y is for Yourself. Therefore, if we put Jesus first, others second, and yourself last, you will have JOY. Change the order of these letters and you will not have JOY. The same is true as we live our lives. Putting Jesus first, others next and ourselves last is a formula for having joy. We can’t spread what we don’t have. POC. Bob, OFS