Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Happy" Jerry Responds

I hope you are having a blessed Tuesday.

A comment appeared a few days ago on another blog and, because it referred directly to me, it caught my attention. The blog was discussing "glumness" at the liturgy. Here's what the comment said:
You want "smiling" and "happy" that is offered as proof of spiritual joy 
while at worship?
Visit "GOTTA SING, GOTTA PRAY," Jerry Galipeau, Doctor of Ministries.
He seems always "happy."

I'd like to address this. I remember a spiritual director I had in the seminary asking me a question that he felt was pivotal to vocational discernment: Jerry, are you sad or are you glad? This question has remained a pivotal one in my life. If I seem always "happy," I believe it is because I continue to answer this pivotal question simply: glad. When I look back over the past thirty years or so, I find a life marked with deep disappointments, moments of great trial, periods of intense grief over the death of a loved one, times when I "hit bottom," times of inescapable pain. Yet, I honestly can still answer the question with "glad."

Why? I think this is pretty simple. The Lord Jesus has made all the difference in my life. Grafted onto the paschal mystery vine, and continually trying to figure out what that means in my own life, has turned me into a person with a grateful heart. Do I still have moments of sadness and disappointment? Absolutely. Do I let those moments take control and pervade my life? No, I don't. And I think it is because of having known the hand of God guiding me through the tough times that I have been given the strength not to be consumed by the sad things. 

And this spills over into my worship life as well. Is my worship life perfect? No. Do I hear dreadful, unfocused homilies from time to time? Yes. Is the music sometimes sub-par? Yes. I firmly believe that God wants to work a miracle of transformation in me each and every time I celebrate the eucharist. I enter the liturgy with this kind of expectancy and, more often than not, God has a surprise in store for me.

This is not a bad way to live one's life. This is why I love being a Catholic and why I gotta sing and I gotta pray.

The following text, from the Kancional, is by Tobias Zavorka, 1602.

Let our gladness have no end,
For to earth did Christ descend.

On this day God gave us
Christ, His Son, to save us;
Christ, His Son, to save us.

See, the loveliest blooming rose,
From the branch of Jesse grows.

Into flesh is made the Word.
He, our refuge and our Lord.

Thanks for listening.


Charles said...

As the author of that observation, Dr. Jerry, please don't assume that my instruction to Todd was sarcastic. You do exhibit a clear "cheerfulnesss in the Lord" in your blogposts. That does contrast with the tenor of Todd's observations and most of the Catholic blogosphere. I have expressed my appreciation for that cheerfulness personally in your comboxes in prior comments.
Pax et bonum

Charles in CenCA said...

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, have you visited my blog, Dr. Jerry. I'd be gratified to have your "take" on the posts there.


Anonymous said...

Reading this gave me a Lift.I lost my husband Fred 5 years ago & I still get down at times.I am so thankful for my kids 3 grandkids friends & church family. Thanks for sharing Bonnie Chase