Joy is the net of love by which you can catch souls.
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
What’s a three letter word that has the capacity to change the ENTIRE world….no it’s not PIE! My Dad might disagree with me though! In the 27 years he was married to my mom, he had fresh homemade pie in his lunch box nearly every day. That’s how much she loved him so pie can be powerful but that’s not the word I’m thinking of. The all-powerful three letter word I’m talking about is JOY!
Joy and happiness are different. Joy is bigger, deeper and much more contagious! Joy is something you choose. Joy doesn’t depend on things goin’ your way; it depends on your faithfulness and your trust in the Father. Joy is being content that things are going HIS way whether it’s easy or not.
The Father’s will is perfectly orchestrated to provide each and every experience we need to build us up for a life in heaven. I think most of us would agree that the world needs more people who are willing to live a strong Christian life. We are all called to “go forth and preach the Gospel” but how? We are called to evangelize but how? The answer boils down to that three letter word…JOY! If it is our mission to bring people to Christ, we have to make sure we are the kind of people others want to follow. There is no better “advertisement” for God than to be so in love with Him that His joy just leaks out all over.
Recently the famous Fr. Joe Krupp spoke to our school staff and encouraged each of us to wake up every day and ACT like we WISHED we FELT! Great advice! Each time we interact with another person, we have an opportunity to lift up or tear down. We have an opportunity to brighten their day and offer peace and support or to complain and be negative. If our goal is to get to heaven and bring a few others along with us if we can, how we act towards others can make a huge difference. The people around me don’t care how tired I am or how busy I am or how important I think I might be…they want to be lifted up by a smile or an encouraging word…they want a little “shot of joy” in their day. My friends…I’ve saved the best part for last…JOY is for all of us to have and share! We need to wake up each morning and invite God to be in charge of our day and lead us through it by the hand. Joy will be the feeling we get when we put Him in charge and all we have to do is hold His hand and follow along. It’s kind of like riding in
a fancy convertible in the Homecoming parade…all we have to do is ride along and smile and wave to everyone we pass by. Have you ever watched the faces of people at a Homecoming parade as the kids in the convertable or on the float smile and wave…they can’t help but smile back even bigger…that’s how joy works! Joy is like a magnet…spread some around and see what you attract!
A seed to plant: Post a sign in a spot where you will see it every day…on it write the words “I’m gonna ACT like I WISHED I FELT today!
Blessings on your day!
…“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”James 4:6
Many Americans think about the 4th of July and conger up images of
fireworks, picnics, swimming and all kinds of family summer fun. I think of those things as well, but the 4thof July image that always blinks in my mind first; dirty roasters! For those readers not living here in Westphalia, let me interject. The St. Mary’s 4th of July picnic is a celebration of huge
proportion! Hundreds of folks come to town to celebrate and eat BBQ beef, gravy burgers or sausage and kraut. Pounds and pounds of meat are cooked and served that day, leaving behind a mountain of dirty roasters. As
you might imagine, an event this big requires the volunteer assistance of
everyone in the parish. For about 20 years, my work shift has been scrubbing roasters. I have never really minded the job because I’m an absolute wizard with a putty knife and five hour old, baked on gravy! (I have seriously considered adding this skill to my resume!) There is something to be said for doing a job and truly being able to clearly see the end result.
The truth is, I didn’t APPRECIATE my roaster scrubbing job until this year when I looked at it through different eyes. The eyes of a very holy and inspiring woman named, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. You may be wondering what a nun from India could possibly have to do with scorched sauerkraut! Well, here’s the connection; her entire life was dedicated to humble service to others. She did things nobody else wanted to do with people nobody else wanted to serve. She was able to sweetly find and serve God through each loving task performed for someone else’s benefit. Even after all she did for others; she consistently practiced acts of humility because it was through performing these acts that she was able to feel closest to God. Her favorite task to increase humility was to clean bathrooms. I don’t suppose there were any “scrubbing bubbles” involved either…it was a “roll up your sleeves, scrub the floor with an old toothbrush kind of cleaning.” That kind of humble service makes scrubbing those roasters seem like an afternoon by the pool sipping mint juleps!
We live in a world where we like convenience and service, but if we look at the words from the Apostle James, we quickly realize that God’s graces don’t stem from being great, important and served. His rich graces come from HUMBLE SERVICE done for others! When was the last time you completed a loving act of humble service for another? My mom said a million times as I grew up, “The greatest way to serve God is to serve others.” As each of those roasters were being cleaned, I called to mind someone who needed God’s healing, peace and comfort and taking my cue from Mother Teresa, the task was humbly and lovingly offered for their benefit. I fall so very short of her beautiful example, but people like her keep
A seed to plant: Throughout the upcoming week, purposefully complete at least one act of humble service for another person each day. It might be something as simple as picking up the stray paper towel from the floor of a
public restroom…nothing makes you feel greater than to humble yourself before your Father. Feel free to post a comment; we’d all love to hear about your homework!
Blessings on your day!
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