Mother Mary Luke CHC offers a devotion at Benediction
‘The gracehoper was always jigging a jog on account of his joyicity.’ I love these words by the master wordsmith, James Joyce. They conjure up a picture of someone so full of joy that it is expressed in the body, visibly. What was the cause, though, of the joyicity? The grasshopper is a grace hoper. As it is written in the prayer of general thanksgiving, we give thanks for ‘the means of grace and the hope of glory’. The means of grace: the sacraments, particularly the Holy Mass which is the means of salvation; sacramentals, holy water, Scripture: these are all instigators of joy. Everything is from God and will go to God—it is all in his hands as our late sister Mary Michael’s almost last words were.
We have hope of glory. ‘For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.’ The weight of glory – it is not a light thing, easily gained and easily lost. It has substance and it is the same glory that God gave his Son.’ The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them that they may be one, even as we are one – that the world may know that thou hast sent me.’ Many years ago, Fr Andrew of the Society of the Divine Compassion said that ‘The Gospel of Joy preached by happy lives is the best way of evangelising the world.’ Joy and glory are interwoven; not the joy that the world gives but that which Jesus gives, which is not incompatible with suffering. ‘You will weep and lament; your sorrow will be turned into joy – I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’
Joy and peace are linked. If we have the peace that Christ gives, not the peace the world gives, there must be joy. Again, peace is not incompatible with struggle. ‘Seek peace and pursue it,’ says Psalm 34. Peace has to be made. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Or, to put it another way: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be filled with joy, because being a child of God is what we all hope to realize. We are already children of God, but we have to realize it. It is possible to hold it in a notional way, with the head rather than the heart.
The cause of our joy is the resurrection. Do we allow the enormity of grace, of the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, to penetrate our lives, changing them and having visible effects?
Can we go out from here full of joy and hope, not necessarily jigging a jog – probably not many of us are capable of that, but full of joyicity? If we radiate joy, hope and peace and are known to be Christians, we cannot help but lead others to the source of our joy.
Mother Mary Luke is the Mother Superior of the Community of the Holy Cross, Costock. This devotion was offered at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the conclusion of the National