I Have The Joy

Joy, Joy, Joy, down in my heart, down in my heart ….. I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart, down in my heart; I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.

Joy has chosen me.  Joy first chose me last September 19th, when arriving a day late to my Secular Franciscan fraternity retreat, I was handed a piece of paper – we drew your virtue for you last night —  Joyfulness.  The slip of paper read —

Joyfulness is an inner sense of peace and happiness.  You appreciate the gifts each day brings.  Without joyfulness, when the fun stops, our happiness stops.  Joy can carry us through the hard times even when we are feeling very sad.  Joy gives us wings.

Indeed, I was very sad that day, having attended a funeral that morning–the reason behind my delayed arrival.  Joy is hard to grasp in moments when you do not understand the workings of God.  Joy was found in the fellowship of fraternity that weekend.

In December, at our fraternity Advent Social, we exchange prayer partners and a virtue to share in the upcoming year.  Peacefulness chose me in December.  Maybe the root of Joy is the inner Peace.

At our January Secular Franciscan fraternity meeting, for Epiphany, we observe the Franciscan custom of extracting Saints and also a verse from the Bible, or, SFO Rule, to be a companion for the new year.  Joyfulness chose me again in a verse that was drawn for me —

Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others.  — The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, 19

In both cases, Joyfulness was drawn for me by someone else.   Not only must I be joyful, but, I must bring joy and hope to others.  My saint of the year is St. John Bosco (Don Bosco).  St. Bosco founded the Salesian Order.  I am just now trying to uncover what this Saint will offer me this year.  The Salesians have been hit hard in Haiti. Perhaps I will uncover Joyfulness in future posts.

I recall singing “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy,” in my earliest days of attending Sunday School – I was about seven years old.  The simplest songs can mean the most.  As adults, perhaps part of the Joy is in watching children.

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8 thoughts on “I Have The Joy

  1. Lee Ann — one of the beautiful things about St. Francis of Assisi is that he is so universally popular. His way following the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to the life of all branches of the Christian church. His ministry was to point the way to the crucified cross of Jesus Christ. Francis embraced what is to be ‘lesser’ than those around him. You here the phrase – “Oh that person would give the shirt off his back to help some one” — that was Francis — he would give his last piece of clothing — morsel of bread — to someone else. If you have never read any of the life of St. Francis, I would recommend read G.K. Chesterton’s “St. Francis of Assisi.” Also, the first book I read was “The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity into Your Daily Life” by John Michael Talbot with Steve Rabey. St. Francis’ popularity is such that there are non-Catholic associations of people following his of example of Gospel life. I never knew of his life before coming into the Catholic church. Let me know if have more questions.

  2. I have a home, car, and regular job. Part of living simply is living within in my means. Keeping consumer debt paid off. Keeping a car that is now paid off rather than always needing newer model. Saving money for what I need rather than charging to have it now. Not being wasteful. I wear regular clothes. I search for bargains. When people came to Francis wanting to live his way of the Gospel, he left it up to each one to determine how to live with less, so to speak. There is much more to the Franciscan way of life than monetary and material goods. If you are looking to understand more, you should check out the books I mentioned.

  3. Hi, I have another question for you. There is a site I go to bspenance.org. They are pretty strict as far as guidelines they expect their members to follow. Now I know this may sound silly or stupid but please I am being serious in my questions.
    Are you allowed to wear make up? Do your clothes have to be in muted colors like blue, black, grey, tan? Like I said, these may seem silly but they are subjects I am struggling with.
    thanks!
    Lee Ann

  4. The web site you have found is for a group of people who are living a much stricter form of life. I am not prohibited from wearing make-up, jewelry, or clothes that are brightly colored. This is the web site for my Secular Franciscan Order http://www.nafra-sfo.org/

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