Pope Francis writes, ” The Father is the source of joy. The Son is its manifestation, and the Holy Spirit its giver. Immediately after praising the Father, so the evangelist Matthew tells us, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30). “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1)
St Thomas Aquinas said that man cannot live without Joy. Religion is not primarily about following a bunch of rules. Religion is about fulling the deepest desires of the human heart. We are made for Joy. Jesus says to the faithful departed, “Enter into the Joy of the Lord.” Paul says, “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy and Peace.” The Holy Spirit gives us a foretaste of the Joy that we will have in Heaven. Allow the Holy Spirit to pour his joy into you. The Holy Spirit is God’s Joy.
You are made for Joy. Following Jesus is meant to bring us Joy. We can think of St Theresa of Avila who experienced so much Joy that she could say to God, “Stop it I cannot take this much Joy.”
The Holy Spirit gives us Joy. Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Sober intoxication of the Spirit’ writes, ” In 1975, the day after Pentecost, at the close of the World Congress of the Catholic Charismatic, Pope Paul VI delivered an address to the ten thousand participants in St. Peter’s Basilica. After reading his official address, the Pope spontaneously added:
‘In the fourth-century hymn by St Ambrose that we read this morning in the breviary, there is a simple phrase that is difficult to translate: Laeti, which means ‘with joy.’ bibamus. which means, ‘let us drink’ sobriam which means ‘sober’ or ‘temperate’ profusionem Spiritus which means ‘the abundant outpouring of the Spirit.’ Laeti bibamus sobriam profusionem Spiritus. This could be the motto for your movement: its plan as well as the description of the movement itself.”
Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. May we drink of the new wine of the Holy Spirit. May the new wine be poured into fresh wine skins. Jesus fill us with the New Wine of the Holy Spirit.
St Cyril of Jerusalem tells the newly baptized ‘They are not drunk in the way you might think. They are indeed drunk, but with the sober intoxication which kills sin and gives life to the heart and which is the opposite of physical drunkenness. Drunkenness makes a person forget what he knows; this kind, indeed, bring understanding of things that were not formerly known. They are drunk insofar as they have drunk the wine of the mystical branch which affirms ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’ (John 15:5)
St Ambrose says ‘Every time you drink, you receive the remission of sins and you become intoxicated with the Spirit. It is in that sense that the Apostle said ‘ Do not get drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit.’ (Ephesians 5:18) He who becomes intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ. How truly excellent is this intoxication which produces sobriety in the soul.’
George Montague in ‘Mary’s Life in the Spirit’ writes this prayer
‘Lord Jesus whenever I taste of the Holy Spirit. I know that I am drinking the better wine that you provide. Through the intercession of the woman who first received that Spirit when you came to earth, grant me a new outpouring at this very moment. Let me experience the sober intoxication of the Holy Spirit so that I may know you more deeply and be empowered, like Mary, to sing your praises and serve you more faithfully, Amen.