Having Joy When Feeling Sad

12-09-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, I apologize if there was any confusion about the normal 11:00am Mass this weekend. There are no changes to the Mass schedule, and there was no bilingual Mass planned. The St. Mary’s Hispanic community has invited anyone interested to join in the festivities for Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrationtoday (9 December), which includes a procession beginning at 11am near St. Angela Hall. Then, Mass (in Spanish) follows at 12:30pm. Following Mass is our fantastic fiesta in St. Angela Hall to which all are invited.

We often hear that Advent and Christmas are seasons of joy; but they can be times of sadness for others for a variety of reasons. As disciples of Jesus Christ, where can we find joy if we may be feeling some sadness? I recently read some insights from an excellent article by Fr. Billy Swan. We arenever alone. In our midst, God offers the people He loves the fullness of joy for which we were made. When we truly accept the friendship of God, placing our first focus on Him, we experience joy. Here is a small excerpt:

“Part of the reason why many of us struggle to find joy at Christmas is because we confuse joy with feeling good. In the world of advertising …, we are encouraged to feel good all the time and to get whatever it takes to make our lives happier. The truth is that no amount of material things, stimulants, orcomforts can compensate for a lack of joy that many experience in the depths of their soul. The source of our joy is not in what we have. It lies in ‘Emmanuel,’ the name which means ‘God is with us.’” …

“Christianity is a religion of joy. It is truly ‘glad tidings’ for humanity. As Christmas approaches, we may well experience feelings of melancholy or sadness for many legitimate reasons. But let us also have the courage to rejoice in the Lord—in his presence, in his gift of salvation, in our praise ofhim, in his ways, in our hope of heaven, and even in his cross. God is the source of our joy, for he is the God of joy.”

To read the full article, simply go to www.wordonfire.org and search for “Advent, Christmas, and the Season of Biblical Joy,” by Fr. Billy Swan.

I hope everyone’s Advent preparations are going well. Enjoy the Advent prayer below.

Father Wilson

Come, Lord Jesus. Welcome to my heart. Fill me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that I may know and share Your joy, love, peace and hope. Open my eyesand heart to the needs around me. Help me grow in generosity. Teach me how to share my time, talents and resources. Share with me your grace as I givewithout counting the cost – without looking for anything in return. Come, Lord Jesus! Come!