It is so easy to talk about being joyful, being grateful, and being faithful in all things.
"If only we keep God at the center of our life," "if only we remember who wins in the end," "if only we remember that God has a plan for us and always stays by our side."
Blog post after blog post after blog post in the Catholic world remind us of these ideas, and of the ideal of always being joyful no matter what.
While being joyful is an important message that we need to hear from time to time, sometimes what we need to hear is that quite often life just sucks and we shouldn't have to be expected to exude joy all the time.
Yes, in the bigger scheme of things, everything is going to be okay. God is in control, and we should be joyful as often as we can.
But real life shows us that we just can't always be that way.
We can't always be that smiling Christian who attracts people to the faith inside of us.
Sometimes we just feel like normal human beings struggling to cope with the fact that life isn't fair, that things don't always work out, and that suffering (even though it has meaning in a very real sense) can feel meaningless a lot of the time.
Now don't worry, I'm not feeling down in the dumps (at the present moment). There is no need to schedule a session with the nearest Catholic therapist (which would be me, I guess).
I'm just trying to give a voice to those who can sometimes find themselves feeling shut out of the Catholic world because they're feeling a very real sense of hopelessness that doesn't go away with a quick prayer or a mindfulness exercise focusing on God being in charge. Those who can't stand to look at another blog post about the importance of being joyful in the midst of difficulties. Those who look up to the cross with tears in their eyes because they just don't get why God is putting them in such a difficult situation.
And I'm here to let you all know, that feeling that way is okay.
This post would pretty much just be a downer if I didn't offer some kind of advice for those going through a dry spell in the joy department, so here goes:
Meditate on the Sorrows of Mary by praying the Servite Rosary.
Walking with Mary through her sufferings can give us a sense of peace in difficulties, because it can help us to realize that Mary didn't always feel joyful in the midst of her suffering. Instead, her example shows us that we can faithfully continue walking with God throughout the sufferings in our life even when we may not fully understand the plan He has for us.
That's what made Mary so great: she continued to say yes, even when it hurt, even when it didn't make sense...and that may be the exact way God is calling you to become a Saint as well.
Information on how to pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary Chaplet (Servite Rosary) can be found at RosaryandChaplets.com.
Copyright 2015 Tommy Tighe.
Image copyright 2015 Tommy Tighe. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tommy is a Catholic husband, father of four boys, and the author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook (available now!).