This was what Christ promised to give us if we are united to him, like a branch to the vine. “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love,” he said. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (Jn 15,10-11)
With these words, we are clearly told where our true and complete joy will come from. It’s from Christ, from God, and not just from some earthly and temporal source. It’s a joy that we can always have in any season or weather, fair or foul. It’s a joy that transcends whatever earthly and temporal condition we may be in. Whether we are up or down, successful or defeated and lost, we can still have that joy.
We need to work out our true union with Christ to have this kind of joy. To be sure, Christ is already with us. We should just be with him. And it’s not difficult to be with Christ, because he is already with us always. Being the pattern of our humanity, the savior of our damaged humanity, he cannot be absent from us. It’s rather us who can dare to ignore and resist him. We have to be wary of that tendency and do something about it.
For this, we really have to activate our faith that, if lived well, can always give us hope, in spite of tragedies that we can encounter in life. Faith lived well also gives us the ability to love everybody, whatever the conditions may be. A faith-based love makes everything beautiful and lovable, even if by worldly standards things are bad and ugly.
And to realize that faith is something that is freely given to us by God should reassure us that whatever effort we make to live it will always produce its expected fruit. It is a God-given gift that is as abundant, or even more than the air we always have around. We should never hesitate to live it as best that we can.
It surely would be helpful if we frequently meditate on the life and example of Christ as we go through all sorts of situations in his earthly life, and especially on his passion and death where the culminating expression of peace and joy can be contemplated and imitated.
Obviously, what is ideal is for us to be able to assume the very identity of Christ who offers himself not only the way proper to us, nor the truth, but also the very life. (cfr. Jn 4,16) So for us to be completely one with Christ is not a gratuitous, baseless assertion. It is actually what is meant for us. And we have been given all the means for us to achieve that ideal.
With Christ we can manage to be happy and at peace all the time. But we have to develop the proper attitude and practices to make that ideal real. And one thing that we can do is that at the end of each day, before we retire, we should make a good examination of conscience where at the end we seek reconciliation with God, regardless of how the day went.
We should sleep every night in the arms of God, at peace and happy!*