After the Lenten fasting comes the Easter feasting…a triumphal feast of Joy and Thanksgiving! It’s a time to feast on hope, gratitude, forgiveness, truth, love, peace, compassion for others, the great mercy of God, and the practice of virtues—gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Meantime, the fasting continues, or the battle to ward off negative inner urges such as bitterness, discontent, anger, discouragement, laziness, suspicion, revenge, guilt, and other vices springing from the seven capital sins.
Outwardly, the inner change of heart carries on a face of Amazing Joy. Inwardly, the Christian experiences an inner well-spring of joy inspired by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the title of the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis’ fantastic document on the joy of the Gospel, ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ whereby he explains how Christ’s joy is constantly born anew each time the Christian faithful embark on new ventures of evangelization.
In meeting the challenges of today’s world, the evangelizer or missionary takes care to form a heart that remains open to dialogue and to seek peace and the common good in society, particularly in welcoming the varied faces of the poor at the crossroads. Such a heart impelled by the Spirit learns to empathize with others, as Mary did at the wedding of Cana when she mediated on behalf of the couple. Her presence truly made all the difference.
So, may Easter 2016 foster an ‘inner well-spring of joy’ within us as we become available servants of God radiating the Spirit’s Joy in amazing ways. How true had the prolific Christian writer G. K. Chesterton describe the disciple in saying: “Joy is the mark of a Christian.”