Friday, 19 May 2017 17:14

Joy vs. Indifference

Hna. Clare in Jacksonville 2008

In these outlines, Sr. Clare has unintentionally left us her personal path to growth in virtue and her own battle against mediocrity.

In 2008, Sr. Clare prepared a series of topics having to do with the virtues in order to have group discussions with the girls at the summer camp in the US. Throughout these writings, she reflects simply and schematically upon a group of fundamental virtues to practice during a summer camp and in the daily life of any Christian. Sr. Clare could have never imagined seeing them published, since they were simply guides to talk to the campers! They can be very useful for us, because she shows how to work on each virtue, going against its opposite vice... which, by the way, is not the one you might automatically think of. For example, in this one, she explains how to grow in joy, fighting against what she considers its true rival: indifference.

In these outlines, Sr. Clare has unintentionally left us her personal path to growth in virtue and her own battle against mediocrity. Let us learn the way to grow in joy – with concrete examples, by the way – from Sr. Clare herself.

You would think that we are going to say joy versus sadness, but no. The virtue, yes, is joy, but what we have to fight against today is indifference. Indifference is where you just sort of give up and you don’t make any effort. You’re not sad, sad but you’re not really, well, anything. Indifferent is the word.

How can I practice joy at a HM summer camp?

It’s early in the morning. There are some Sisters outside banging at the door, blowing a really loud whistle and singing songs. I do not feel like jumping out of bed right now and standing outside the cabin, but the Holy Spirit reminds me that I have to practice joy. I jump out of bed and tell all the rest of my group and I run outside and start singing, too. The rest of the group looks at you and say, “I didn’t know that you made your Guardian Angel smile.”

We’re going to play a game of volleyball. As soon as you arrive to where we are about to play, you sit down. “I’ll watch you guys,” you say, “I don’t feel like playing.” The rest of your team reminds you that the virtue for today is joy and that teamwork and participation is really important. You think for a while and instead of remaining there indifferent, you ask them to help you up and you also play. When the other team wins, with joy you give them a high five.

At night everyone prepares a song, dance or skit to show the rest of the camp. You say that you’ll turn on the music, but your team really needs you to be in the dance.
You tell them that you don’t know how to dance, but they say that it doesn’t matter. If you all mess up at least the others can laugh. Maybe you don’t feel so joyful about doing it, but thinking that what you do can bring joy to others, you decide to do it.

True joy is in giving, not receiving. When we share the talents that we have with others we can bring joy. Even if you don’t feel like doing it, when you make an effort you not only bring joy to others, but you yourself begin to change. The virtue of joy is essential at summer camp. So today let’s see smiley faces and happy campers!


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