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  • Writer's pictureMonica Walton

They Were Overjoyed!

Those three little words ~ THEY WERE OVERJOYED ~ that are used to describe the Three Wise Men in the Epiphany Story just wouldn't let go of me this week.

They were overjoyed at seeing the star !!! (Mt 2:10)

When was the last time you felt overjoyed?



I mean, really OVER joyed, not just joyful or happy!

Take a moment to ponder ~ what has ever made you feel overjoyed?


I have been thinking about this a lot. At this moment, I am OVERJOYED with the good news that my precious newest grandson was born this week! He and his mother are happy and healthy, thank God! I am OVERJOYED and BLESSED to have 3 sons & 1 daughter and now 3 grandsons & 1 granddaughter💙💙💙💝


We find joy.... ....in sunrises and sunsets, walking in sunshine, beautiful flowers, listening to soft rain, snuggling under a warm blanket, kicking off our shoes, visiting an old friend, meeting a new friend.


We feel happy.... ....when in the company of family and friends, dancing, spending time with people we love, seeing babies and young children, when someone is happy to see us, reading a good book, playing with a pet, hearing a great song, relaxing on the porch....the list goes on and is fairly easy to compile.


But, when are we OVERJOYED? That list takes some deeper thought and heart work.


I feel OVERJOYED.... ....when I am in the presence of my children and grandchildren, when I see someone who I haven't seen in a very long time, when I hear news of a healing or answered prayer, when I spend time in contemplative prayer and receive inspiration and clarity for difficult situations, when a new story comes through, when a choir elevates the room, when someone with a joyful spirit lightens the heaviness in a sullen setting.


 

Jokes can do that, too. Have you heard any good jokes lately?

A fun joke can always lighten our mood and brighten our day. My friend, Kenny, always has a joke at the ready to share whenever the opportunity arises!


When I come across a clever play on words, it can also make me downright giddy! Here's one of my favorites:

Q: What is your favorite Bible Verse? A: “I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor." ~1 Samuel 1:15

This one never gets old for me. This extracted portion of Scripture taken out of context provides a very different meaning. It has a much more serious subject matter when read in the full story. We heard It in the Liturgy on Tuesday. (Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time) Check out the full Bible story of Hannah's Prayer in the link below.

I have also been contemplating the correlation between joy and perceived joy (or the lack of it.) For example, the priest, Eli, observed Hannah's lips moving as she was engaged in fervent silent prayer and assumed she was drunk. Hannah responds to this accusation saying, "I was only pouring out my heart to the Lord. Do not think your servant a worthless woman; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.'

😳 oops...he got that very wrong! (Hee Hee)

So, I wondered how I look when I am in prayer. I've observed some people who appear sad, some who look bored, others seem to be sleepy, and some are simply distracted. Years ago, I knew a lady named Mary who attended my church. She always sat in the front pew, and one couldn't help but notice that she was OVERJOYED to be there. Her face glowed and her gaze was captivated, as if she could literally see Jesus Christ in the flesh, standing in front of her, and blessing her!


I want to feel OVERJOYED when I am in prayer -- especially when it is in the presence of the Eucharist. I do believe that Jesus is truly present and that the consecrated bread and wine are miraculously changed into His Body and Blood. When I sit with that, I am OVERJOYED that He did this for me, that He gave this gift to us. But, it is a challenge to carry that with us everywhere.


What gets in the way of feeling OVERJOYED?

Simply put, I think it is our minds. Whether we are in church believing, praying, praising, and singing or sitting with the most special person in the world to us, our thoughts don't always stay in the moment. Instead of embracing the beautiful gift of the moment, our mind holds on to other things -- like who is seated around us, who is no longer with us, the upsetting news we heard recently, the perpetual to-do list that is clinging to our lives, plus all the plans, worries, unresolved issues, missteps, and a million other things. No wonder we seem underjoyed so much of the time.


The friends in the Gospel Reading today were OVERJOYED to find Jesus and they didn't let any distractions get in the way of taking their paralyzed friend to Him for healing. They didn't complain about the crowds. They weren't discouraged that they had traveled so far with no guarantee they could even talk to Jesus. Their faith healed their friend! (Mark 2:1-12)


The only way to shake it, is to intentionally shake it.


Put all else aside to focus on the person and purpose in the moment. Be attentive. Seek the positive. Since God is present in all people and all situations, we can look for Him to see the good. We can work on developing the habit of finding some joy in all circumstances. If we don't see or feel it, then we must be the ones to bring the joy! My hunch is that as we get more accustomed to viewing everything in light of joy and goodness, we will soon find ourselves being OVERJOYED in so many more moments, the ones that really matter.


 

I am OVERJOYED that St. Paul Catholic Church is having a Eucharistic Revival this Lent! Join us to be OVERJOYED by Jesus and the Eucharist!


Learn more and register here: Jesus and the Eucharist

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Guest
Jan 16
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

As always you inspire me to look for joy in my life! Much love!

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walterjr
Jan 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Overjoyed...antidote to the immersive sadness we can sometimes feel for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ...contrasting Hannah's sorrow with the glowing of the gazing Mary...is the underlying essence of the Christian calling found in reconciling the illusion of these seeming opposites for ourselves and the other?

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Guest
Jan 13
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love this! It really made me think of my attitude and how I appear to others. I shall try to be more attentive to letting my love and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ bring joy to everyone I encounter. Thanks for the thought provoking lesson I needed to work on this new year ❤️

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
Jan 13
Replying to

It is a great plan for all of us in this new year 💜

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teresajdavis
Jan 13
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I was really touch by this: “if we don’t see or feel the joy, then we must bring the joy”. I’m going to work on that. I’m going to try to “bring it”!!🙏❤️😀

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
Jan 13
Replying to

Amen — thank you, Teresa! Just think if we all decided to bring the joy! ☮️🕊️

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