Our Christian faith depicts Joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:22, CCC #1832). Joy is quite different from euphoria. Unlike euphoria, joy is not just a passing mood, but an abiding experience. Put in other words, while euphoric moments last a short time, joy lasts/endures overtime. The difference between joy and fleeting euphoria is measured with time. In the Litany of Our Lady of Loreto, she is invoked as “Cause of our Joy” (Latin, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae) Have we really taken time to understand why the Church calls her “Cause of our Joy? Does this title place her in the same position with God, the source of all spiritual joys and benefits? Definitely, no! Today, being the twenty-third day of our devotion in May, we shall take a little time and reflect on this title.
When we invoke Our Lady as “Cause of our Joy,” what do we mean? It is pertinent to recall that the first word that the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary on the day of the Annunciation was precisely “chaire” (χαίρε). This is an ancient Greek imperative form of “χαίρω” (chairo), a verb that means “rejoice,” “be glad,” “hail”, used frequently as both a greeting and way of saying goodbye. The message of the angel was clear: “You have found favour with God.” (Lk. 1:30). The person of Our Lady (the most perfect of God’s creatures) gave joy to the Blessed Trinity that she found favour with God; as such, the angel asked her to “rejoice.” The message brought greater joy to her and to the world when she realized that she would be the mother of the Saviour; little wonder she sang in her Magnificat: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” (Lk. 1:46-47). The first to share in her joy of being the Mother of God was the infant (John the Baptist) in the womb of his mother Elizabeth. The scene was beautiful. We are told that when the greetings of Mary reached the ears of Elizabeth, the baby in her womb (John the Baptist) leapt for joy, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and gave a loud cry, saying: “Of all women, you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?” There, we see that Mary’s presence was the cause of Elizabeth’s and John the Baptist’s joy; Mary’s presence because, she is always filled with the Divine Joy, the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherever she is, also our Lord Jesus Christ (the Joy to the world) dwells.
At the wedding feast at Cana (cf. Jn. 2:1-11), the solicitous Mother noticed the affliction of the couple, who lacked the usual wine at the feast. In order to restore joy to their celebration, she pleaded with her Son, and Jesus intervened by turning water into wine. Jesus’ miracle brought joy to the life of the afflicted host and their family, as a result of the intercession of our Lady (Cause of our Joy).
Apparently, we live in a ‘sad world,’ today. Whenever I turn on the TV or read up some news on other platforms of the Social Media, it is mostly a list of sad news of one calamity or another, with the havoc of COVID-19 taking the lead. Also, we often hear of an increased rate of suicide, drug addiction, violence, corruption, kidnapping, and a host of other crimes. In times shaded with sadness like this, we turn our glance towards the great Mother of God (Cause of our Joy) and seek her intercession with faith and trust, in order to have joy restored to our lives once again.
Let us pray:
Lord our God, in whom our souls delight and find great joy. Grant, we pray, that by invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary (Cause of our Joy) in this stormy and difficult era, our hearts may experience great joy and be filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit, the same way John the Baptist and Elizabeth were filled with joy, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Oh “Cause of our Joy” (Causa Nostrae Laetitiae), pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?