My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Brendan & Erc in Exile Volume 2 – The Big Picture by Amadeus

Synopsis (from the Introduction): This book is a modest attempt to retell the greatest story ever told; one full of suspense and surprise, disappointments and victories, love and joy. It is the story of the battle between good and evil that surrounds our human race from beginning to end. Above all, this is the story of a loving father, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 18:23) but goes to great lengths to bring him back to his father’s house. It is a love story, and one to which each of us belongs by our very existence.

Author – Amadeus: Amadeus is the pen name of a contemplative priest who lives a life of prayer, adoration, work, and study in central Massachusetts with the Maronite Monks of Adoration.

Advent 2021 Week 3

This is the third post in a four-week series on the themes of Advent. Advent means coming or arrival, and we are preparing for two things: 1) The arrival of Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and 2) The arrival of the second coming of Jesus.

Gaudete Sunday: JOY!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.

Phil 4:4-5

The Big Picture is a graphic novel written for faithful Catholics that explains salvation history. Amadeus, the author, explains in the introduction why he wrote this book, “I was filled with a desire to share the joy of seeing the ‘big picture’ of our Faith.”

This Advent season, I wanted to spend a lot of my time on the joy of the season. Advent is a penitential season, which might make joy difficult. However, we can readily repent joyfully if we focus on the reason for penance – it prepares us to recieve Christ fully. There is much joy in the anticipation to receive Christ to the fullest.

I can easily get caught up in the evil, the injustices, and the hatred of this world. The media really thrives in this area. There are times where I feel addicted to my anger and actively look for the next injustice to set me off. This graphic novel reminded me to keep my thoughts on the ‘big picture’ of my life. I was created for a purpose. The Baltimore Catechism teaches us that, “God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven. To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world” (para 3-4).

The battle between evil and good continues until the last day, and I have a role to play in this battle. I can have joy in the knowledge that Christ wins, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2).

St. John the Baptist teaches us this joy, “My joy, has been fulfilled. [Jesus] must increase, while I must decrease” (Jn. 3:29-30).

We can have this joy even in times of suffering. The Big Picture explains this well (pg 132):

Keep your eyes on Christ – remain in Him – and be full of His joy.

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.

Jn 15:9-11

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