Fruit of the Holy Spirit // Joy

Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.  But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind;  for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James 1:2-8

Whenever I come across this passage from the Letter of St. James, I can barely make it past the first sentence. The words cross my mind every time I am faced with a challenge or a cross that seems to heavy to bear and yet there are very few (if not, feeble) attempts at applying these words to my life. Joy and Pain do not go together so easily, yet here is James telling us to rejoice when we face our trials. However, it is not the pain in which James is telling us to rejoice. It is the opportunity for faith to be deepened; for what is faith if it is not tested in fire?

Doubt is what St James warns about in this passage—“the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.” Doubt is what causes confusion. Doubt is what causes chaos in our identity and turmoil in our souls. Doubt is what causes a lack of joy. Because is there anything more joyous than loving and knowing that you are loved? And that is what a faith in Christ gives you—the marvelous capacity to know and to love God, as well as the deep, unshakable understanding that you are truly known and unconditionally loved by Him.

But like all love, it must be made worthy, it must be proven true…in good times and in bad. Trials, challenges, suffering test that love and if you remain faithful to that love those things only make it stronger.

Do you have faith when you are facing trials? How can you cast out doubt during these times?

To Jesus through Mary-Carissa