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.