Learn, Lead, and Serve in the Spirit of Mary's Magnificat

Mission Reflection

The Joy of Our Hope*
by Sr. Helen Jean Novy, HM

We have perhaps read inspiring, mood-lifting, even life-encouraging reflections about hope in times of struggle, agony, and anguish. It is Easter that gives us profound hope in the mystery of Christ’s resurrection. Now we are called to move into the Easter season’s joy.

What is the relationship of joy and hope?
What is the relationship of joy and hope and the month of May?

There are many feasts in the May liturgical calendar that can be an occasion of transporting us to joy.

On May 1, we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, model of fidelity. Each of us treasures the fidelity of a friend or spouse or generous relative or inspiring teacher or dedicated religious.  What a great gift: to be able to count on someone through thick and thin. And what a call: to be a person of fidelity, faithfulness, and joyful witness to the good news of the gospel.

On May 16 this year, we celebrate the Ascension. How can Jesus leaving earthly existence be an occasion of joy? In the Easter season of 40 days there are scripture readings about Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection, all startling good news: in the upper room, on the road to Emmaus, at the seashore. Even if we are doubters, like Thomas, there is a most encouraging experience of Christ to contemplate: Christ with his “glorified” wounds, at once the reminder of the reality of the outpouring of love through the agony on the Cross AND the confirmation of resurrection to new life. We see Christ advising where to cast nets, cooking fish on the shore, ministering, serving, counseling for the spiritual, vocational, and ministerial growth of faithful disciples—and us, too.

We can imagine Mary in these 40 days moved in her entire being with resurrection joy as she draws water at the well—Jesus is with me, as she bakes bread—Jesus is with me, as she gathers in the upper room* for prayer and the breaking of the bread with the other disciples, the early Christians—Jesus is with us.

Perhaps make that a mantra throughout your day, throughout this month: Jesus, you are with me in all moments, in all experiences, in all challenges, in all encounters.

On May 23, we celebrate the feast of Pentecost fulfilling Christ’s promise never to leave us: I will not leave you orphans. How encouraging to receive the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, courage, prayerfulness, awe and wonder. Commune with Spirit-Sophia who will teach you all things.

On May 30, we celebrate the unfathomable mystery of the Triune God. A Doctor of the Church has expressed this Trinitarian concept in searing images:

A Brightness—A Flaring Forth—Fire

The mystical insight of St. Hildegard of Bingen.

Knowing the Trinity happens deep inside our hearts in our prayerful openness to God’s revelations from within us. After all, Jesus did not leave this life until he imparted the Spirit who would teach us ALL THINGS!

We encounter the Trinity in all that has flowed forth from Trinitarian actions: the creation of ALL THAT IS. We learn of the Trinity in the wonders of the natural world burgeoning in the springtime of May. If the Creator speaks in the Language of Trees, then contemplating trees and any other created reality should be a source of joy.

Read the pages, God is speaking
Creator speaks in languages of trees
Hear the singing of divinity
The flowers sing of beauty.***

“The world IS charged with the grandeur of God.”****

And we surely learn of the Trinitarian life through encounters with other people, other Christs, women and men icons of Christ.

HOPE: our trust in Jesus who has promised never to leave us
JOY: our communing with the Trinitarian life deep within us

Ultimately, God is our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope.
God is the Source of Our Joy.


*Title of one of the choral pieces in Linda Chase’s Oratorio on Laudato Sí
**Pope St. John Paul II’s Encyclical “Dominum and Vivificantem” reflects on four scenes in the Upper Room: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dominum-et-vivificantem
***Linda J. Chase https://soundcloud.com/lchase-1/creator-speaks-in-languages-of-trees
**** Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ. Emphasis added.

Past Reflections