Father John Catoir

In this column I am going to try to reduce the New Testament to a few hundred words. Are you with me? Here goes.

God wants your love. He desires you, and he wants you to be with him in heaven. Jesus died on the cross for you. Those who understand this have the faith, the others who do not are in the cold. We can only pray for them.

Believers like you already have the risen Lord living within your baptized soul, which means God is closer to you than your own heartbeat. He loves you, and he wants your happiness. When you come to this understanding, you will be ready to follow his instructions.

One of the first things he asks is that you abide in him. Abiding in him is not found exclusively in contemplative prayer. No, to abide with him also means living your daily life in him and with him.

By living in the present moment you will find God at your side, along with his love and joy. Don’t cloud your mind with needless guilt or fear. You are loved. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

Fidelity to his will is not an abstract theological obligation. In real life, it is nothing more than seeing the duties of the present moment as opportunities to unite with him. It is only in the present moment that you can be attentive to the needs of others.

Real holiness is more about loving than it is about doing. Mother Theresa explained the connection: “It’s not so much what you do that counts; it’s how much love you put into the doing.”

Pray for the grace to respond joyfully to God’s love. The essential calling of every Christian is first of all to love and honor Almighty God. We do that best by loving him in those who need us. Love is life’s greatest joy.

The supreme law is this: Love God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. In other words, cling to God, think of others and don’t put yourself down. Loving and forgiving yourself is essential.

Jesus commanded us to “love one another” and added, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete,” (Jn 15:11).

He wants us to share in his happiness. This same theme is repeated over and over in the New Testament.

Pope John Paul II captured the same idea with this proclamation: “Christ came to bring joy, joy to children, joy to parents, joy to friends and families, joy to the sick and elderly; indeed, Christ came to bring joy to all people. Joy is the keynote message of Christianity and the recurring motif of the Gospel. Go, therefore, and become messengers of joy.”

For over 25 years I have been writing books on joy. I have a website called www.messengerofjoy.com, and my Twitter handle is @johncatoir.

For me this obsession is like a vocation within a vocation. But we are all called to be messengers of joy. Therefore, it should be your obsession too.

My hope is that you will become a messenger of joy. In that way, we can all do our part in making the theme of Christmas and Easter, a reality all year round: “JOY TO THE WORLD.”