A current of joy

Throughout my life people would ask “Why did you want to be a sister?” When I was younger, I would say something like “I want to serve and love God.”

Now I realize that my deepest desire was and continues to be to know true Franciscan joy, the joy that St. Clare describes: “May you go forward securely, joyfully, and swiftly on the path of prudent happiness.”

As I celebrate my 80th birthday this year, I am grateful for the numerous joys I have received through God’s goodness. Recently the words of Henri Nouwen touched me as he describes reasons we have celebrations as affirmations of life.

May you be open to the joys in the kingdom of God here and now.

A Current of Joy
Celebration is not just a way to make people feel good for a while; it is the way in which faith in the God of life is lived out, through both laughter and tears. Thus celebration goes beyond ritual, custom, and tradition. It is the unceasing affirmation that underneath all the ups and downs of life there flows a solid current of joy. The handicapped men and women of L’Arche are becoming my teachers in the most important course of all: living in the house of God. Their joy leads me beyond the fearful place of all death and opens my eyes to the ecstatic potential of all life. Joy offers the solid ground from which new life can always burst. Joy can be caught neither in one feeling or emotion nor in one ritual or custom but is always more than we expect, always surprising, and, therefore, always a sign that we are in the presence of the Lord of life.

Henri Nouwen

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