As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2015, it seems fitting that we cover the final component of this Advent-inspired philosophy: "Be blessed. Be bold. Fight for JOY!"
Be blessed: Pray. Connect. Conserve. Serve.
Be bold: Play. Love.
Fight for JOY!
Once you start living blessedly and boldly, you can start to experience true joy. Joy surpasses and transcends happiness. It arises when our interior compass points toward Christ, and when our hearts inspire our bodies and minds to follow Him.
Being filled with joy is a choice. It is not the result of our temporal situation. It does not result from the circumstances of our lives, because - let's face it - life is incredibly difficult. INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT! It is brutal. BRUTAL! It exhausts us. Frustrates us. Angers us. Saddens us.
But it does not have to defeat us. Remember, Jesus says,
"I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (John 16:33).
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. St. Paul writes, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22 - 23).
Finding the Spirit takes discipline. It requires prayer that first and foremost adores our Creator. It requires sacrifice - of things and for others. It necessitates courage. It takes a playful, childlike innocence that doesn't remember that we can't do something, but instead believes that life is all about doing that one thing. It forces us to love without cost and with everything that we are and all that we have.
The world can keep us from pursuing these things. But remember, He has conquered the world.
He has called you - YOU - into His Royal Family. He has chosen you - YOU - for the most important and daring and necessary work in the world. He loves you - YOU - because you bring Him more JOY than you can even imagine.
Fight for your JOY today, tomorrow, this week and always.
You are a conqueror. You are His.
Be blessed. Be bold. Fight for (and find) JOY!