Joy is from God

There is something deeply mysterious about joy. It is deeper than mere laughter, it is more than an emotion. Joy seems to combine both serenity and excitement along with a touch of humor or laughter. It seems to come as pure gift, emerging sometimes in an instant, sometimes as a gentle tide welling up. Perhaps its context is good news, or a humorous moment, Perhaps it exists with the satisfaction of a completed task or a reunion after an absence. It does not seem to be a learned response at all. It just is, it’s just there! Even the youngest infants show joy. It comes with the soul and is there from the start.

What is joy? It is the gift of God. We can only receive it, not cause it. It is gift.

I know that, in places, the Scriptures seem to command joy as though we could cause it. But notice those same Scriptures put that command in a context. For example, we are to not to “joy” but  to “rejoice.” That is, we are to recall and revisit the joy the Lord has given us. Elsewhere the Scriptures say “Be joyful” but then add “in the Lord.” For joy is of God and comes from him.

Joy is an unmistakable foretaste of heaven. It leaps down from heaven and draws us up there for a time. For the Christian, joy should grow as we journey ever closer to that place where “joys will never end.”

Joy to you as you watch this remarkable video and glimpse the joy of God on infant faces:

  • Ex ore infantium, Deus, perfecisti laudem
  • (From the mouths of infants you have perfected praise O God)
  • Psalm 8:3


8 Replies to “Joy is from God”

  1. Thanks Msgr, could one also say that Jesus had an unshakable joy in doing the Father’s will even while he was on the cross?

    1. Hmm. not sure how to answer. We have to be careful. It is true Jesus always enjoyed the beatific vision but it is also evident that he was in great distress. I will say in support of your point that Jesus as he went to the Jersualem for the last time to suffer and die said, “The world must know that I love the Father.”

  2. I like the thumb sucker. Now that’s true joy! Some folks try to destroy it but keep on suckin that thumb.

  3. I understand the wonderful laughter, and is truly a joy to see and hear; however, the number of infants with one mom is the first thing that jumped out at me. What are the odds of naturally conceiving four embryos within one pregnancy? If the infants were conceived naturally, what an incredible miracle. If not, are we supposed to forget that this is a Catholic blog? I’m confused.

    1. I am not sure what the odds are and am not an expert on fertility. But I remember years ago, long before lots of fertility treatments common today that Quadruplets were not unknown. Rare but they certainly happened. So I am not sure we should presume something amiss here. That this is a Catholic blog should mean that we presume the worse when an innocent explanation may well be possible. It is also true that the Church does not oppose all fertility treatments. Many ARE opposed to Church teaching, but not all. So anyway, unless it becomes clear that this family did something wrong I think we can celebrate the joy in this video.

  4. It was humorous when four of my kids were all in my bed watching this video on my laptop. Each time, after the babies laughed, my crew laughed, as their giggles are too infectious. It was funny watching those four pass on joy to my four- lots of little voices cracking up!

    I tell my kids that true happiness won’t come from things of this world. I have given concrete examples that I am speaking truth- like Ugg boots. My daughter wanted them. I said no. My daughter still wanted them, they were $100+, I said no. She said she’d pay half. I agreed that, for her birthday, I’d pay the other half. Those boots made my daughter really happy, for a time. Now, 6 months later, the boots are still cute, but they don’t make her happy.

    That temporary state of happiness that comes and goes doesn’t sustain. True happiness, joy, is something else entirely. For a long time I didn’t distinguish between joy and temporal happiness and thought there was something wrong with me- I was always missing something. I was right. There was something wrong, but it took a long time to figure out what. The theme of your blog is perfect- I was missing God. My heart was sometimes happy but always restless. It is so true, “my heart is restless until it rests in you.” That peace does bring me the ability to experience the gift of joy.

  5. Saw your blog link on Charmaine Yoest’s Facebook…thanks for sharing your thoughts, Msgr!!

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