As I grew older, went away to college, became wise to the ways of the world (or so I thought), I began to disregard a word I had learned in a song there at the camp: “joy.” Joy was a word for kids, an expression for something outdated or impossible, a synonym for happy. And I knew, without a doubt, that “happy” was next to absurd, a fleeting feeling that was gone as soon as you took your next breath.
Becoming Catholic, though, has changed some of my semantics. The joy might be down in my heart, but it’s also all around me. It might be a word used incorrectly, but it’s also a very real experience, if only I’ll let it.
Some of Mary’s title strike me as strange. Before I did the reading necessary for this week’s column on her title Cause of Our Joy, this was one of those titles. My initial response was an unintelligent “Huh?!” and a complete blank in my mind.
Mind you, I have a great devotion to Mary. It’s hard to explain, in many ways, especially to my non-Catholic family. I try really hard not to sound like I worship her (devotion is different than worship), and I try not to go overboard talking about her and slipping her into my conversations (the way I do with my unsuspecting Catholic friends and family).
But is she the cause of my joy? And if so, how? Isn’t that the sort of thing that only God can be?
It all comes back to her Yes at the Annunciation, doesn’t it? Mary opened a door for each of us, and it points the way she always points: toward her Son.
Mary, Cause of Our Joy, is a reminder to me to laugh loudly, to ignore email and tickle a child instead, to say Yes to the many little ways God is calling me closer to Himself.