Connoisseurs will tell you there is only one source for great bagels: Brooklyn, New York. They claim it’s because of the superior qualities of Brooklyn water in the dough. So if you want the best bagels, you have to go to Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn-Water Bagel Co. in Atlanta, Georgia, has a machine they call “The Brooklynizer” that adjusts the mineral content of its water to match that of Brooklyn. Still, one Brooklyn native calls the Atlanta product “close, but no cigar.”
Going to the source
Joy is a little like that. There is only one source of joy: God’s own joy. Matthew 25:21 bids us “enter into the joy of the Lord.” So, like Brooklyn, the joy of the Lord is something we enter into to get to the source. Jesus said, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink (John 7:37).” In other words, the best water can’t be faked.
But it gets better. Jesus followed that with “Whoever believes in me…Rivers of living water will flow from within him (John 7:38).” So if we enter into God’s joy by imbibing the living water of the Holy Spirit, we’re “Brooklynized” and become, through him, sources of this super-charged water for others!
Looking for joy in the wrong places
It can be tempting to try to come up with joy by ourselves, without God as the source. But authentic joy doesn’t come that way. Trying to make joy happen by ourselves can lead to addictions that take us far from God, or at least far from his joy. Like when I get a craving for Cheetos and eat too many at once.
Jesus makes a stern promise to those who look for joy outside of God: “But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Rev. 21:8).”
Ah, no thanks….
Entering into God
Any legitimate effort we make to find joy—prayer, listening to joyful music, or eating a great bagel are merely ways we enter into the Lord’s own eternal joy, which he’s eager to share with us. “All the earth is filled with his glory! (Isaiah 6:3).”
Joy is a fruit of our love for God.
Joy is a taste of heaven. We put one foot in heaven when we enter into God’s own joy. Real joy always comes with the hope of heaven. That taste of supernatural happiness gives us confidence that God’s promises are true and worth the effort it takes to stay close to him.
Turning our mind to God’s promises is a way to enter into the joy of heaven ahead of time. Pondering his promises, we love him more and—voila!—experience greater joy. So grab a bagel (or a Cheeto) and ponder some of the joyful promises that God has given to you personally:
- Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24).
- Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison that you may be tested….Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
- And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be (John 14:3).
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:3-5; 8).
This is the joy that trumps all other joys—that the sufferings of this world are nothing in comparison to the joy that awaits us in heaven (forever) and that all our joys and pleasures are only a hint of heavenly joy.
As we mark Jesus’ Ascension to the Father, we anticipate even more his second coming when he will bring us to the unending joy of heaven. And that is infinitely better than anything on earth, even a Brooklyn bagel.
Mary Fran Hurley
I am feeling empty and sad because of people who aren’t human anymore. I almost didn’t read this because the idea of “joy ride” has a very negative connotation in my experience. It’s hard for me to sustain interest in much reading especially as a cradle Catholic. I am so disappointed, not with God but with joyful noisemaking that is riding the community for a payoff. I guess I’ll go to sleep again.
Btw, I’m not accusing or blaming. I’ve had a tough life with it’s twists and turns. Like I said I can’t read the whole she-bang as they used to say. It hurts me. Please listen. I’m not up thee with Jesus. I’m not myself I am told.
I will offer my Mass today for you that you find peace in the loving arms of God — not matter what else is going on.
Thank you so very much.
Letting the beauty and the words soak in…breathe in.
Thank you, dear Rose
Very inspiring and touched my soul.
Praise Him. Thank you God for all my blessings.
I have 2 sons who are both in dire financial trouble, but one also is in moral trouble. Please help both of them find their way back to God, and help get their lies under control.
I am going to Mass today at the Basilica in DC and will pray specially for you and your sons. Mary is powerful!
Arlene , many of us are in the same situation regarding our children.. Never give up praying for them ! It works… It takes time to show up but it works! Ask Mary for help.. Bless you. Patricia
Thank you for your encouraging words, Patricia!
I am so enriched by your beautiful words and believe in God’s amazing promises that were made known to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ so long ago.
Thank you so much.
Nicely written, Rose. Have a happy day.
Thank you Rose! May you have a joyful week! Leah
Rose, You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. It’s a great blessing for me to read your email messages 🤗
Thank you Rose for sharing. I need reminding of the promises God gave us from time to time.
Have a blessed week.
That great angelic Saint & Doctor of the Church Thomas Aquinas tells us if we don’t seek joy in God, then we will seek it in other areas e.g. possessions, money, gambling, power, golfing, you can fill in the blank. Another great Saint & Doctor of the Church —Augustine tells us in his “Confessions” our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.
Finally, this is for Mary Fran, St. Catherine also a great Saint & Doctor of the Church tells us whatever sufferings & anxieties we have or experience to unite them to Christ’s blood on the cross. This has a redeeming quality as Divine Providence is always at work.
Peace in Christ.
Just what I needed to read today! Thank you Rose! I’m smiling just thinking about the joy that will be mine as I love my Jesus more and more! ❤️
I take up proposition 8 of Blessed John XXIII’s How Much More Will the Father Give:
8) “Only for today; I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.” That’s enough to put me in church most days for starters, hoping to make my plan and his plan the same plan.