Thursday, June 7, 2007


Will you rejoice with me this day?”

This line was quoted from Fr. Paul Clines whose funeral mass was held yesterday morning. The homilist said, “If Father Clines were able to speak to us today from the pulpit I am sure he would say, ‘Will you rejoice with me this day?’” I believe it. Far from a tragedy he would see his going forth from us an absolute blessing. That is not to say that the trip might have been one fraught with tense and scary moments, but through it all there was an underlying joy.

Some people are like that. They have a reserve of joy that shines through even during terribly trying moments. They always have hope amid tears, joy amid sadness, and a concern for others even as their own world seems to be collapsing.

Other people seem to be happiest being miserable. If it’s winter they curse the cold. If its summer, they curse the heat. When they are short on cash life is too hard, when they are flush, the cares that money thrusts upon them make the burden of having it too much. They cling to victimhood and wail most loudly at every incident of discomfort or slight, which they diligently seek out at every moment.

Christians have a certain obligation to be joyful. Not happy, but even when in tears there must be that underlying hope, that understanding that God can use anything for His glory and our benefit even if at the moment we do not understand it or see it. That is what the gifts of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that you received at your confirmation are all about.

Have your cultivated these gifts given to you? Do you have that underlying sense of joy, hope, and trust in God? Here is a little test. It is not scientific but might at least make give you pause to contemplate and explore your spirituality a bit better.

You are in a restaurant where you are to meet a person. It is twenty minutes past the time he is supposed to be there. What runs through your mind?

a) I hope he is Okay.
b) I am so embarrassed sitting here alone. I wish he would hurry up and get here.
c) What a jerk! I can’t believe he is so inconsiderate as to leave me here by myself and be late like this!

Someone might argue that they would pick b or c if there was baggage with the person being either chronically late or having control issues. But even then, that fact that the person is like that is known and you should expect nothing else from them. Being upset is exactly what gives them power and dampens your spirit. Only (a) permits you to find any possible joy in the moment.

The world is full of wonder and most of it is missed because when things are not going exactly as a person wishes them, they ignore the opportunities the situation provides for all of their efforts are in trying to reorganize the world back to the course they wish it to be. Fr. Clines said, “Even the snow is full of wonder.” The billions of flakes that we have crushed unthinking under our feet have all been masterpieces of art, no two of which are alike. If only we would take time to appreciate what is before us.

We win nobody to Christ when they see the same worldly weariness in us as they do everyone else, when they see the same pessimism. If your faith is making you sour, there is something wrong and it isn’t with Christ or His Church.

That is not to say that we won’t be sad, that we won’t be down, that we won’t have low periods in our lives that there are not times when it becomes necessary to change situations. But even from the bottom of the pit we look up at the light and know that even if we must wait until death, there is still hope and love and light.

Much of joy is choosing joy. Happiness is rarely within our power but joy is. It takes a certain amount of discipline. It can be excruciatingly hard for some, natural for others, possible for all. But for it to be real, it must be in Him. And to be in Christ means to share in His joy.

Will you rejoice with me this day?


Anonymous said...

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Habemus Papam said...

Enjoyed the post Fr. V....almost as if you were speaking directly to me. :) Fun how that happens. The day shall be a good one, thanks for starting it out on a positive note!

Anonymous said...

Yes I will rejoice with you today!Great post! I do believe there are people who are only happy when they are miserable. Most of the rest of us just have to be reminded to "look on the bright side" when we are discouraged or down. As far as your little test, if someone's late that usually isn't I usually worry! However I have this friend who is usually late to a restaurant so when I am meeting him I take a book to read!!

Adoro said...

Most of the people in my life are habitually late. I'm habitually early. (I would NOT make a good debutante). So I usually don't worry unless they go beyond their usual lateness, and have learned to tell these late people a much earlier time to show up. They still end up late, but not as late as they'd be if it were on their time. :-)

I do worry about late people if I don't know them.

As far as rejoicing; it's Thursday, half done, I've had a lot of coffee today, and I'm "rejoicing" off the walls!


Anonymous said...

Gee, Fr V - maybe you could be our "groupie" SD.

Your comments seem to often hit the mark for one or more of us.

And where do you turn for SD and propping-up? I suspect you're an early riser and get your personal prayer and adoration in before many have even heard their alarm clock sound.


Anonymous said...

That's Fr. PAUL Clines' funeral!

Fr. V said...

HA! Your right. It seems every other priest in his age group I know is named Bob - I had Bob on the brain. Thanks for the catch!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was a beautiful post! "will you rejoice with me this day," I wonder if those that know us could say one line that summed up who we were, what would they say?