Joy and Sorrow
We are faced with two very different emotions in life: joy and sorrow. In any one day we may have or feel both depending on what we face. As a priest I may have the sorrow of a funeral on Saturday morning and then the joy of a wedding on the same day in the afternoon. I wrote not long ago about Hope. We also are connected to hope and with Joy and Sorrow.
If we look at Sacred Scripture we can see both joy and sorrow flowing through the writings like threads linking the many events and parables. Our own stories could be seen in the same light. What we face on a yearly (even daily basis for many) would allow us to understand these two emotions very clearly. The moments of great joy for those in Biblical times were connected to the times of favour on the people of Israel. We see the joy of Sarah, Hannah, Mary. The joy of Mary Madeleine when she heard Jesus say her name having thought His body was taken away.
We see the great sorrow of Mary at the foot of the Cross, the sorrow of Peter having denied his Master. At the same time we see the sorrow from deportation, floods, fires and pestilence which followed the people of the Old Testament in their lives. We experience sorrows in our lives and in our time. Witness the destruction of Christian lives and communities in the Middle East, the slaughter of so many lives and the accompanying sadness and despair.
We need to focus on hope in the midst of the sorrow and suffering, the hope of coming joy. That joy can be there. We see pictures of children smiling after wars and famine are over, and we remember happier moments when in the middle of difficulties. So we need to focus on a future and live in that expectancy that God will hear us and our lives will indeed be better. It is not false hope as some might suggest. But rather Holy Hope that allows us to live in the goodness of God, that great Divine Providence.
Pray. Trust. Hope. Storm Heaven with prayer as prayer warriors do. And in the midst of joys and sorrows keep praying for you and others. Prayer is never wasted, it is our means of interceding for others in their sorrow and thankfulness for their joy. We can share in the joy and sorrow of others. We are not completely isolated. We are all connected. It comes down to prayer and trust. It may not seem like there is a way out, and there may be difficulties around us, but God in his Divine Wisdom knows all. Pray. Our joy can be found in the goodness of God and His Providential care for us, even when we are not aware of it. In sorrow and pain we still know of His care. Listen to the Psalms each day and hear how this is a regular feature of the writers.
St Alphonsus Liguori said “The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.” We too need to trust in all those moments whether in good times or in bad. We are connected to each other in joy and sorrow. As brothers and sisters we can share in this and turn even more to the support of each other rather than distancing ourselves from one another. We are not like the world, and will not be indifferent to others. Love and faith will win in the end. And we will share with others their joy and sorrow.