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“Old Fezziwig once told me, ‘Ebeneezer, when happiness shows up, always give it a comfortable seat.’”
Scrooge (Patrick Stewart) to the Ghost of Christmas Past (Joel Gray) in “A Christmas Carol” (1999)
In this adaptation, Scrooge considers carefully what he had that made him happy, and the Ghost affirms Fezziwig’s gifts were a small price to pay. Scrooge cannot separate a genuine good and caring deed from the ever-present possibility all could be lost.
Gaudete Sunday gives us the opportunity in our actual or mental “bleak mid-winter” to consider what makes us “happy”, as opposed to “content” and “hopeful” for God’s coming.
In the first reading, Isaiah gives us that hope:
The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
This is God’s promise to the Israelites, and to us, that our joy will be realized, with all good gifts.
In the second reading, James exhorts the faithful to be joyful for what is to come:
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
It strikes me the Third Sunday is the best day to really sit back and take account of what the steps are in achieving “happiness” and what steps are involved in “contentment’. What does God expect from us as we ask for something from him.
To me, the path to contentment mirror the path in discernment of need, as opposed to a “want”:
In my final presentation thoughts with my Benedictine College Experience students, I point out:
Isolation is not an option.
To learn, you must be aware.
To be aware, you must be attuned.
To be attuned, you must be silent.
To be silent…
To be silent is when we are able to learn in our heart, soul, and mind the joy and contentment, knowing the birth of Our Lord is near.