Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
I would like to describe three categories of Christian joy. There is a joy particular to Christians in heaven, there is a joy particular to Christians in purgatory, and there is a joy particular to Christians on Earth.
The joy of Christians in heaven is the greatest and the fullest joy. It is a rejoicing in the unshakable possession of infinite good. It is a repose, an attainment and a satisfaction which is marked by peace. In the course of human life, at that point only do all struggles cease.
Struggle remains present for the souls in purgatory. They are still laboring in pursuit of their last end. They must endure, temporarily, a process of final purgation that brings with it some form of pain. Do they have joy? Yes, of course. They have been saved from sin, death and hell, and they are getting closer to God, and they are assured that they are getting closer, so they must have some form of joy.
As for Christians on earth, we have cause to be joyful, too. Consider how our joy is unlike the others: it is not complete, it is not satisfied, it struggles, it is not at peace, it must not presume. Truly, it is a joy, because God always loves us and showers us with innumerable gifts, such as creation and redemption. But, “we know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.”