The Savior of the world comes and brings life, salvation, and true joy to “men of good will.” Words tailor-made for the Christmas season.
“Rejoicing, I shall rejoice.” These words are often repeated in the Messianic context. In the ups and downs of life, we float between despair and hope. The bad family news, the empty coffers, the cold winter with its accompanying diseases -- all these impact our moods on a daily, if not hourly, basis. We are subject to the sentiments and passions of the moment.
But this has little to do with the virtue of Hope.
Hope as a virtue has nothing to do with today’s weather or one’s jolly mood. It is grounded on God, and the devil who knows this does his utmost to throw us into discouragement, sadness, and despair.
Joy is the natural fruit of hope. It consists in the rest and delight we experience in the actual possession of the thing we had hoped to obtain. But there is a whole variety of joys we can feel. True joy descends from above to the soul and from the soul to the body, whereas the joy of the world goes the other way around. This true joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Ghost (Gal. 3). It grows naturally out of perfect charity, which works always to love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves. Here lies true virtue, true sanctity, and true joy.
And if joy is the fruit of charity, joy should be for us, traditional Catholics, a means of our apostolate. Because we are facing greater obstacles and long winded rebukes from churchmen and statesmen, precisely because of the amplitude of our struggles, we cannot afford battling with frowning faces, worrisome and downcast spirits. Our woes will help no one whereas a joyous and healthy soul acts as a magnet to onlookers. They will wonder at the secret of this joy and may be brought to the invisible grace of God through the shiny faces of His soldiers.
To close this short evocation of joy, here is a scriptural passage on sadness and joy (Eccli 30:22-27):
Give not up thy soul to sadness, and afflict not thyself in thy own counsel.
The joyfulness of the heart, is the life of a man, and a never failing treasure of holiness: and the joy of a man is length of life. Have pity on thy own soul, pleasing God, and contain thyself: gather up thy heart in his holiness: and drive away sadness far from thee. For sadness hath killed many, and there is no profit in it. Envy and anger shorten a man's days, and pensiveness will bring old age before the time. A Cheerful and good heart is always feasting: for his banquets are prepared with diligence.”