Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God

I have a new quote on my desk from French philosopher and priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, that reads:

Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.

(I have Stephen Colbert to thank for bringing it to my attention.)

A couple weeks ago, life was dragging a little bit. I wasn’t unhappy by any stretch of the imagination, but there was a little heaviness to my gait, a little lethargy in my life, and a little less patience with people. Life didn’t seem as full or as vibrant as it normally did.

Reflecting on this at the time, it wasn’t a hard malaise to diagnose: I realized that I had gotten so busy doing things for God that I was neglecting spending time with God. This in turn had an impact on the rhythms of my day–I found myself working later and longer, and allowing the healthy boundaries between work and rest to become fudged–and on top of that, in the midst of my own busyness, I was also neglecting to spend life-giving time with my closest friends.

Joy is not happiness; it is not contingent upon circumstance. Joy is deeper, more rooted, and more connected with the person of God. In John 15, Jesus talked to his disciples about the importance of remaining–“abiding”–in him, and he said:

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

So take a moment to do a life-check: Are you finding–or making–the space in your life to do things that make your heart sing, to spend time with people that give you life, and to rest in and commune with the God whose presence is evidenced by joy?

If not, what are you going to do about it?

Jesus is a liberal democrat

Stephen Colbert tells it like it is, almost crossing over from satire to sincerity in doing so:

If this is gonna be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit we just don’t want to do it.

A word to Congress: “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers …”

Guess who said this:

I like talking about people who don’t have any power. And it seems like some of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here, and at the same time ask them to leave. And that seems like an interesting contradiction to me. And, you know, whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers … these seem like the least of our brothers, right now. And I know that a lot of people are the least of my brothers because the economy is so hard, and I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them or diminish it or anything like that, but migrant workers suffer, and they have no rights.

If you’re observant, you’ll be able to glean from the video below that it wasn’t an immigrant rights or social justice advocate, it wasn’t a pastor or an organizer. This was Stephen Colbert, comedian and satirist, stepping briefly out of character while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.

And Colbert, a Catholic, answered the final question addressed to him by quoting Jesus in Matthew 25.