Hello. This is Father Edwin Keel.  I am a Marist priest and the Promoter for Marist Laity.  This is
the third in our series of talks on Marist spirituality.
We have been talking about joy, joy as a key characteristic of Marist life, because joy was so central
a reality in Mary’s life, and joy was what led her and guided her throughout her life.

But joy was not only something that Mary possessed.  It was also her gift to others, indeed her gift to
the whole world.
When Mary, carrying Jesus in her womb, visited her cousin Elizabeth and entered Elizabeth’s house,
we are told that the babe in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting.  And
when Jesus was born, the angel announced to the shepherds the joy that Mary had brought by
carrying Jesus into the world: “I bring you news of great joy, to be shared by all the people. A savior
has been born to you, Christ the Lord.”  To bring Christ to all we meet, to carry Christ into the
world, to greet people in such a way that Christ speaks to their hearts and they become filled with the
joy of knowing God’s blessing and favor on them: that is Mary’s way.

It is Mary’s way because it is Christ’s way.  And it is the Christian way.  Three times in the Gospel
according to St. John, we are told that Jesus’ purpose is to share his joy with us:  
In chapter fifteen, Jesus tells us that if we keep his commandments, especially the commandment to
love one another, we will remain in his love.  Then he goes on to say, “I have told you this so that
my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
In chapter sixteen of the same Gospel according to St. John, Jesus speaks of how the disciples are
sad, now that Jesus is about to die, but that they will see him again after the resurrection.  At that
time, when Jesus has been established in power at the Father’s right hand and is able to intercede for
them, the disciples can ask the Father anything in Jesus’ name and the Father will grant it.  Jesus
goes on to say “ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”
Finally in chapter seventeen, again in St. John’s Gospel, Jesus prays to the Father for his disciples
and declares that he is returning to the Father—that is, he is about to die for love of us.  Jesus then
says, “I say all of this so that they—my disciples—may share my joy completely.”
St. John must have really gotten the message that the whole purpose of Jesus’ life among us was to
share his joy with us, and that the purpose of Christian fellowship is that we might share that joy
among ourselves and bring it to others.  For we see John, who has caught this joy, speaking in his
letters of how he wishes now to share the joy with the new Christians to whom he is writing:
In his first letter, St. John describes the great joy of having seen and heard and touched Jesus in
person:  “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—for the life was made
visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father
and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too
may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”  
St. John then says, “We are writing this so that our joy—yours and mine—may be complete.”
And in his second letter, St. John says he plans to visit the people he is writing to, and speak to them
face to face.  Here are his words:  “Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use
paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face, so that our joy—yours and
mine—may be complete.”

Jesus came for nothing less than to share his joy, his eternal joy, with us.  The Christian who has
come to know Jesus and the joy he brings, wants to share that joy with others.  Our Holy Father,
Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, when speaking to some African bishops, stated that catechists and
teachers “should be well formed in faith and able to communicate both the joy and the challenge of
following Christ.”  And the Holy Father rejoiced that the lay catechists in the country of Ghana,
though “often hindered by lack of resources or hostile environments, remain undaunted messengers
of Christ’s joy.”

Mary, who for us Marists is the model Christian, the model disciple, the model believer, brought the
joy of Christ to all she met.  And Marists learn from Mary to do the same.  This is one of the ways
that Fr. Jean-Claude Colin, the founder of the Marists, described our mission:
One day he was talking to Fr. Julian Eymard, who later founded the Blessed Sacrament Congregation
and has been canonized a Saint of the Church.  Fr. Colin told him: “You must meet everyone with
peace of soul, making yourself all things to all people, bringing joy to the hearts of others.  When to
do that costs you something, well then, we must make a sacrifice to the good Lord and then we must
really die to ourselves... Always be joyful: rejoice in the Lord always.”
Another time, Fr. Colin was giving a retreat talk to some of the Marist priests, and telling them how
to go about preaching parish missions.  He said, “It is not for money that we are working, but for the
salvation of souls, and we can count ourselves far richer, more highly honored and fortunate to be
the instruments of salvation and to be called to spread peace and joy in people’s souls.”
That is Mary’s way.  And that is the Marist way.  Come join us in the work of Mary and help bring
the joy of Christ to the world.

Exploring the Marist Way

Talk 3:

Sharing the Joy