Daily Archives: January 18, 2023
Failing The “Joy” Test
I keep reading about this thing with the “joy”. It looks like the church is a joy dispenser. You are Catholic, you have joy.
Here. Have some joy.
It wasn’t so when I was growing up. “Vale of tears” was more frequently mentioned than joy. In fact, people expected a lot of stuff (not only life in general, but parts of it like being in a marriage or having children) as something that, actually, will require sacrifice and cause suffering, possibly suffering extremely difficult to bear like the loss of a child. The downplaying of the sacrifice and suffering of life causes all sorts of issues, like people (and I have heard that more than once) losing the faith because of a horrible bereavement (like the above mentioned loss of a child).
They promised me joy. I got immense grief. Something’s very wrong here.
But let us stay on the joy part and let us charitably assume that all those priests who never mention the vale of tears mean, by joy, the serenity that comes from a robust hope and a solid trust in the proper working of Providence. Let us imagine that this “joy” is what causes a Catholic to walk through life knowing that Christ is in charge and will properly care for His sheep. In that case, I must lament that I have seen nothing of it during the p…p….p….ppppandemic.
Most priests have not only run to give in to the panic. Worse than that, they have amplified it, positively encouraging the sheep to obsess about it, and to keep obsessing when the world had moved on lest they look “uncharitable” or not obsessed enough with the fantasies of their sheep. I remember many months in which only myself and, at most, a couple of others dared to attend without a mask, when the world out there had largely got rid of them. This went together with the invitation to stay out of Dodge if you are single, so the family near you would not think you are intent on killing them because of your silly, selfish desire to do something as trivial as attending Mass, or with the constant parish newsletter reinforcement of how horribly, horribly bad the situation was.
“Please stay safe!!”
Thanks, I prefer to stay sane.
If all these people had had the “joy” that is so often mentioned, they would have taken sensible, reasonable precautions, but they would have gone on with their life, knowing that Providence arranges everything beautifully and going to Mass is more important to them than worrying about germs.
There was, at least in my neck of the wood, nothing like that. Those joyful people proved, when tested, extremely prone to shitting their pants, big time, and Father kept telling them their trousers can never be brown enough.
There isn’t much “joy” in going around with a diaper around one’s mouth, constantly worrying about germs, and thinking that your survival, or the one of those near you depends on a thin piece of cotton that will not stop a fart, but should suddenly stop a virus.
This “joy” stuff, as it is currently practiced, is quite pernicious. It gives people the wrong outlook on life, and does not equip them to deal with difficult times. It is, also, largely emotional and not adequate to cope with the reality of life, in which we need to constantly have in front of our eyes not only the reality of suffering, but the value and purpose of it, and the need to pray so that we get, of it, only the strictly necessary.
Still: it will not be a walk in the park. It was never supposed to be.
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