The Colors of Joy
The Colors of Joy
Recently, as I was leafing through a few of the magazines that we frequently find on our bookshelves and in community rooms, I was particularly struck by photos. One image spoke to me more than others: the radiant smile of a very poor child who held a piece of wood to her ear pretending that it was a cell phone. What a happy child!
I allowed myself to be caught up by a conviction that we frequently share and that could surprise us by its immediacy: it is not things that make us happy. It is not what we possess, not the most sophisticated toy, not even the security that favors tranquil dreams.
Joy has the colors of a profound heart.
“The person who wants what she has is happy,” said St. Augustine, and it is difficult to contradict him!
A person who accepts herself as she is, who knows how to sing her song in the depths, when circumstances are joyful, when they are sad, when they do not correspond to expectations, knows ever more spaces open to joy.
In the work of Paul Claudel, The Annunciation to Mary,
someone says to Violaine, the heroine who has contracted leprosy because she embraced a leper: “Violaine, how much you have suffered during these eight years!” Her response? “But not in vain. Many sufferings are consumed in the fire of a heart that burns.” For this reason they do not destroy
happiness, they do not take away the capacity to hope, to love, and even to smile. Joy is the fruit of loving and of being loved. More than anything else. Joy and love are two terms that recall one another.
For us it is especially the certainty of the love of God that makes us happy. This is a certainty that accompanies believers of all times. In the Bible there is an extraordinary collection of songs, the Psalms, which express in many ways the joy of believing and of looking at life as a gift, even in the most tragic moments.
Pollyanna, the protagonist in Eleanor Porter’s celebrated novel, remembering her father, a Protestant minister, emphasized: “He would not have continued being a minister even for one day if there were not in the bible the verses of joy.
Papa called them this. They are those that begin with ‘Rejoice always,’ ‘Sing hymns of joy.’ One day Papa was so sad that he set out to count them.
There are 800!He said that if God took the trouble to exhort us 800 times to be happy, it must be important.”
Always be happy…this is the will of God in Jesus Christ” (1Thess 5, 18). For those who believe, joy is a daily way of life, not a dress for extraordinary circumstances. Certainly, it is one of the most credible and convincing testimonies for young people.
And how much Don Bosco and Mary Domenica Mazzarello lived this and taught it in entrusting to us the commandment of joy…and in entrusting our Institute to Mary, the woman of the Magnificat.