Reflections on mission and joy

A period of silence allows us time and space to think about our lives and the direction that we are taking. In the whirling chaos around us, there should be a quiet refuge where we can hold on with faith and grace.

During the prolonged crisis, people have undergone a series of professional setbacks and/or personal losses. The mood has been somber, sad and sorrowful. There are feelings of pain, helplessness, frustration and despair.

However, there are some moments of hope and light.

Here are some enlightening points and reflections from two wise men who talked about truth, mission, and joy.

“The Truth has two facets: the meaning of the text and the historical truth; the actual chronology of events. Outside the truth, there are Critical thinking and Fundamentalist reading.

“If you don’t have full control, it is because you don’t have a choice. You are not all-powerful. God does not exercise complete control in the world and our own lives because He chose to create an open system.

“In the Open System, there are unintended consequences: the possibility of physical evil such as sickness, death, accidents, and natural disasters; the possibility of moral evil: Sin.

“The intended consequences of the open system are: a universe of freedoms with people and nature; the possibility of Love.

“The interacting causes in the open system are: God’s will (good cause); laws of Nature (natural causes); structure and culture (social causes); human freedom (human causes); good and evil spirits (spiritual causes).

“These causes lead to the codetermination of events.

“Embrace it all — both the sadness and joy. Let go God through you.

“Letting Good, one learns how to deal with fear. Believe in the Good. Commit to the Good. Discern the Good.

“Letting Evil, one learns how to deflect anger. Defy and resist evil. Forgive the evil-doers. Take and transform the pain.

“Letting God. One learns about sadness and joy in a ‘mathematical equation.’

“Share in sadness — and halve it. Share in joy — and double it.

“Reveal to others a world super-saturated with the Lord’s presence and goodness.

“Two metaphors: Drop the rock. Let go of the umbrella.

“There’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head.”

— Father Johnny Go, S.J., “Pins of Light” Lenten retreat

Climbing the second mountain is the stage in our lives when we ascend to a more spiritual plane. According to Fr. Carmelo Caluag, we should give people three things at the different stages of life:

“… Something to live on…. Something to love for.

“… Something to die for.”

“We are now at the stage of Something to die for.

“What is our Mission?

“It is the meeting point between your deep gladness and a deep hunger of the world.”

He shared this excerpt from The Second Mountain by David Brooks:

“Here I want to shift now to the highest layer of joy… moral joy… this is the highest form of joy… because this is the kind that even the skeptics can’t explain away. The skeptics could say that all those other kinds of passing joy are just brain chemicals in some weird formation that happened to have kicked in to produce some odd sensation.

“But moral joy has an extra feature. It can become permanent. Some people live joyfully day by day. Their daily actions are aligned with their ultimate commitments. They have given themselves away, united and wholeheartedly. They are so grateful to have found their place and taken their stand. They have the inner light.”

Pope Francis, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma have this unique inner light.

The author was once seated with the Dalai Lama who did not say anything particularly illuminating or profound during lunch. However, he noticed that the Dalai Lama would burst out laughing.

“He would laugh, and I wanted to be polite, so I would laugh, too. He laughed, I laughed. He is just a joyful man. Ebullience is his resting state.

“Happiness is the proper goal for people on those on their first mountain. And happiness is great. But we only get one life, so we might as well use it hunting for big game: to enjoy happiness, but to surpass happiness toward joy.

“Happiness tends to be individual. We measure it by asking, ‘Are you happy?’

“Joy tends to be self-transcending. Happiness is something that you pursue; joy is something that rises up unexpectedly and sweeps over you. Happiness comes from accomplishments; joy comes from offering gifts. Happiness fades; we get used to things that used to make us happy. Joy doesn’t fade.

“To live with joy is to live with wonder, gratitude and hope. People who are on the second mountain have been transformed. They are deeply committed. The outpouring of love has become a steady force.”

Pope Francis once said, “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to it in our daily life on what we have dreamed of. What I hear at this moment is similar to what Isaiah hears God saying through him: Come, let us talk this over. Let us dare to dream.”


Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.