God desires our joy and completeness--becoming our true selves as created in God's image. "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete," Jesus says (John 15:11). Here, he speaks not of passing, superficial joy as we often interpret it (such as getting a new electronic device for Christmas), but of deep, lasting, life-giving joy (such as holding a newborn son or daughter in one's arms).
God wants us to dwell constantly in that deep, lasting, life-giving love with which he gazes on us as children. And it is through this love we have first received from God that we are able to desire, produce, or accomplish anything good. In today's Gospel reading at Mass (John 15:1-8), Jesus says, "Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."
Let us take some time today to ask ourselves a few questions: Do I trust Jesus, who promises, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20) ? What is the source of my joy? Can I identify specific instances in my life when this joy springing from God's loving presence has manifested itself? How do I abide in this life-giving joy each day? What fruit is it producing in and through me? Am I willing to accept God's gift of deep, lasting, life-giving joy--to become part of its rich harvest of spiritual fruit from which the world may drink?