Casey Thomas

Smile of Joy

It’s amazing to think that the first smile Jesus ever gave was in response to Mary’s smile. It must have been an extraordinary moment: her son was smiling at her, and it was God smiling at her too. This book looks at Mary, this extraordinary woman who is “the cause of our joy” because she brought us the greatest joy of all: Jesus. She was full of joy because she was full of gratitude, gladly acknowledging the fullness of grace that God had given her. Her deep joy overflowed when she visited her cousin Elizabeth: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit exults in God my Saviour”. But this Magnificat song wasn’t just a once-off song of praise: the reason it came to Mary’s lips so easily was because it was her usual way of praying. She constantly thanked God for the gifts he had given her. Whatever the circumstances, Mary had the deep inner conviction that “all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” as Julian of Norwich was later to express it. Many of us seek joy outside of ourselves, in food and drink, or in riches and reputations. But Mary found an inner joy that came from encountering God, a joy that was immeasurably greater than any material joy. And by giving Mary a place in our hearts, we can find true joy in God as well.
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