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Nothing Can Take My Joy - Family Reflection Video

Nothing Can Take My Joy - Family Reflection Video

Celebrating family life  |  Holy lives of inspiration

“Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?” (Under the fig tree is code for learning to know God and His ways in the scriptures.) Nathanael is flabbergasted and wide-eyed in surprise at what Jesus has disclosed about him. “You will see greater things than this. You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Jesus, God, is full of surprises. This first encounter with Jesus propels Bartholomew (Nathanael) forward on a life trajectory filled with surprises. What a perfect complement Jesus pays Nathanael, “There is no deceit in you.” In response, everyone of us can utter the words of Nathanael to Jesus, “How do you know me?”

And friends, He knows each of us. He knows you. He is calling you and me to accept the things we cannot change and give up on the project of making ourselves OK in His eyes. He says there is no need to do anything, to repair anything, to make ourselves acceptable to God. All our make-over efforts through devotions, relationships, experiences, impressing others, result only in temporary fixes at best.

The joyful faith of Bartholomew, once he encounters Jesus, reminds me of the book, Reflecting on the Serenity Prayer, by Philip Saint Romain.

He says, and I paraphrase, the restless heart, bothersome memories, an anxious worrying mind—we should not try to alter these realities by replacing them with something else or eliminating something. The person God is creating in this very moment is already good and is already happy, so there is no need to do anything to create happiness. Happiness comes of its own accord when we accept the fact that we are completely loved and accepted by God in every moment. There is no where to go and nothing to do to become happy. We need only stop disturbing ourselves and happiness will emerge.

In our family life, for example, we may decide to postpone joy and happiness until the right changes come about. No matter what the problem may be, it is possible for us to realize that in this present moment, all is well in God’s world. Those who live in union with God come to realize this as the great fact of their lives. Frequently these good people have more problems than others, but seeing and experiencing themselves, their families, their lives as God sees them, makes it possible for them to make the best of hardships and not allow any problems to take away their joy.

The family that knows Jesus is joyful and can handle whatever trials come their way. A family rooted in prayer and in Christ, knows and relishes His love, they are a family that knows joy and peace. Thank God. Amen.

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About Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C.

Father Wilfred J. Raymond, C.S.C. (Father Willy), a native of Old Town, Maine, is the eighth of 12 children. He joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1964 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1971. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Stonehill College in 1967 and a master’s in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. He served in ministry at Stonehill College (1979-1992), Holy Cross leadership (1994-2000), National Director of Family Theater Productions, Hollywood (2000-2014), and President of Holy Cross Family Ministries (2014-2022). In addition to English, he is conversant in French and Spanish. He remains a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox, even though he has served as Chaplain for the Los Angeles Dodgers.