The Completeness of Joy

May 6, 2018

The amazement of our whole being is caught in the wonder of joy.  This joy is often expressed in love and it is often experienced in forgiveness.  Jesus speaks that we are to experience the completeness of joy.  This is a gift beyond all telling.  It is a reality so exciting that it changes our lives.  Completeness and joy eludes so many, even though Christ has promised it.  How and why does it happen?

It is a question of trust.  Are we able to trust our connection to eternity is enough and there is no need for anything else?  If we are, we surrender ourselves to a reality that completeness can be experienced from within the soul.  This completeness comes from a real sense of who we are, why we were created and realizing the mission God has placed in our hearts.  It hasn’t changed over the ages, although our interpretation may have.  It is into this depth that Jesus invites us to explore completeness and with it, the fullness of joy—unspeakable joy.

Our young people show us the power of the next moment.  They are constantly checking electronics to find out who is doing what.  Sometimes this leaves in its wake a void.  It is a void of realizing that maybe others are having better fulfillment than oneself. With this perspective, it is easy for depression to take root as post after post is watched. This isn’t only something that affects the young.  Some of us do not commit to an engagement until the last minute, waiting to see if something better is coming along.  Others keep looking for a job that is better.  Sometimes a person waits for someone else to call them hoping for something better than past relationships.

Completeness is something so deep that as much as we long for it, when it is given, we struggle to stay in the moment of joy.  I think about the Christmas gift received after it was longed for in anticipation of the big day. Oftentimes it is shelved quickly after the initial joy has passed.  I think about those who have won World Series Championships and then feel incomplete a year later.  It is not to be that way with God.  It is a choice to stay in the realm of completeness.  On Holy Thursday the opening prayer for the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper states that in the Eucharist, we are to receive the fullness of life. If this is true and it is to fill us completely, why do we search elsewhere for things of this world that cannot satisfy?

For me, the fullness and completeness come when I stay in the moment and realize all is a gift and I am privileged to be the recipient of God’s infectious love.  When I stay focused just on that, in meditation, in walking and reflecting, in the action of the Sacraments, it is then I stay in touch with joy.  When I move away to the things of this world, it is then when I leave the completeness only He can give.  It is extremely difficult, yet when I do my part to refrain from looking around the corner to what is next and refrain from looking for something better, I can experience the completeness found in His joy.  Although it is extremely difficult because of the trappings of this world, it is undeniably life changing.  I feel blessed that in moments in time, timelessness has touched my life, embraced my life and revealed to my life the love God has for me.  Stay connected to those moments when God gives them.

Completeness is a reality, its joy is unmistakable.  May God bless you with it.

Reverend John J. Ouper