Joy and tears

Marion is happy. He sings and dances. And the reason? He has just been baptised. He is an epileptic and because he was always falling into the fire his hands became burnt and eventually what was left of them had to be amputated. So he cannot do much for himself; but he is happy. He carries his food relief awkwardly on his head, but he doesn't feel sorry for himself. He just manages somehow and he smiles. He is like someone who has conquered the world. It can do no more harm to him.

Recently some professional people came away to a lonely place for a
while' (Mark 6:31) and spent a day or two in quiet. Entering into their
own hearts and seeing what was there some of them shed tears. These
were not the tears of feeling sorry for themselves but the tears of
realisation, of forgiveness and of freedom. It was painful to face the
truth but once they did it they, like Marion, felt their joy released.
Their joy was so great that they could not believe it' (Luke 24:41).

Joy and tears are gifts and they are close to one another. To come to
one is often to come to the other. Don Bosco grew up in Italy at the
time of the industrial revolution when whole families disintegrated as
people crowded into the cities in search of a better life. The children
were forgotten in this modern exodus and had to live by their wits.
Bosco felt his call was to reach out to them and help. But they
rebuffed him and turned away. He tried to befriend the kids time and
again but without success.

One day, in their presence, he burst into tears; tears of frustration.
And those tears opened the door to those children's hearts. The rest is
history: Bosco and his friends (who became the Salesians, after Francis
de Sales) went on to build technical and academic schools and
orphanages for boys all over the world. In Africa there is a huge
youth city' in Lubumbashi (D R Congo) and also in many other parts of
the continent.

So when we are reduced to tears, as so many are these days, it can be
painful but it can also be a door to a new way of seeing things and
such revelations bring joy.      

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