When the prodigal son returns and his father holds a feast the brother complains to Him. Many of us can understand where he is coming from in his complaint. The Father’s response tells us an amazing lesson about the spiritual life.
The Father responds: “all that is mine is yours…” In this simple statement he sums up why true Christians are so joyful.
When I worked at a high school for a year it seemed like the common notion among the students (even the really mature ones) was that Christianity limits freedom and doesn’t contribute to happiness. At best they hoped for some sort of a compromise with the pleasures of the world and Christian living. At the same time many of them couldn’t figure out why the Campus minister, Sr. Julie, was so happy. Sometimes I would try to engage them and help appease their curiosity. My answer was always simple: Holy Joy.
Holy Joy is the only thing that can explain why someone who abstains from the pleasures of the world, seemingly limits their own freedom, and lives for things entirely foreign to the popular culture can be so happy. Holy Joy comes from recognizing that all that is God’s is for us. What the brother of the Prodigal son and most people in this world do not understand is that the reward is Christian living. When we live for Christ we are given access to peace, joy, adventure and yes even pleasure that world could never have. That is what fills a true and Radical Christian with Joy.
Holy Joy comes from a relationship that finally satisfies us. The world could ever understand Holy Joy because the world cannot figure out how to be in a relationship where we give of ourselves completely. Holy joy is the mark of the truly free and intense Christian.
Give yourself to Christ today. Experience true freedom. All that God has is for us! You will be filled with Holy Joy!
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. Mother Teresa
For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.