‘Reboot’ Teaches the Fundamental Importance of Joy

Last week, I attended a phenomenal event at my parish. Author and speaker Chris Stefanick, a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville and founder of Real Life Catholic, spoke to an audience of about 400 people about joy. Entitled Reboot, this two hour presentation was meant to inspire listeners, ignite excitement the faith, and send people away with the will to make changes in their lives to live out the joy of Christ.

I can honestly say that I had not had a more fun and enlightening evening in years. Chris is a dynamic speaker who grabbed the audience’s attention from the moment he set foot at the front of the room. As he roamed the aisles looking right into the eyes and faces of the audience, he spoke directly to the hearts of listeners. His charisma and his charm were infectious, and his energy contagious. Walking out of the church, I felt renewed.

I have spent the last several days reflecting on this talk and replaying it in my mind. His words truly resonated with me. Joy is so crucial in our lives. And as I think many of us know, it’s lacking in our society. We see evidence of this everywhere. Just read the news. Or people’s reactions to it.

Why is there so much anger today? Partly, I think, it comes as a product of staring at a small mobile device 24/7. Our phones are a tool that steals our joy.

Talks like those given by Chris Stefanick are meant to draw us away from those thieves and bring us back to what’s truly important—our faith and the love of our Heavenly Father.

We all desperately need joy, but Satan is working overtime to steal it from us. And when he steals that joy, chaos reigns. Anger reigns. Hatred reigns. And Satan rejoices. Once we truly understand that, it changes how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about the world. More so, it changes how we interact with the world.

Saint John Paul II taught that we must all work to build a culture of life. But we can’t build a culture of life if we don’t have a foundation of faith and joy to build it upon. If we don’t love the faith that we profess and project that love outward, then how do we draw others to it? How do we create a world where people want to fill their lives with Christ’s love and mercy if they don’t see us living the joy that comes from knowing we are so loved by a Father who gave His life for us?

Reboot reminds us to shut out the outside world and to find the inner joy that we all long for.

Christ teaches us that even though we live in a broken world where bad things happen, He can help us find the good. We just have to allow Him to do so. It’s knowing that He can help us create good from the bad that we find and sustain that joy.

Does having joy mean that we will always be happy, that we will always feel like skipping down the sidewalk, or that we will never feel angry or frustrated? Of course not. Human beings have a wide range of feelings throughout the day, but the inner joy we must cultivate on a daily basis helps us deal with those negative feelings and conquer them. That inner joy helps us gain perspective on life and focus on eternity with God.

So how do we create that joy within ourselves? It takes effort, but Chris offered several ways, including giving thanks in all circumstances, loving ourselves, making good friends, and framing our mind with faith.

When we look at the cross, at Jesus’ outstretched arms, at His brutalized body, and think “He did that for me,” we realize the depth of His love for us. This innocent, holy, beautiful, all-loving, and all-powerful God became man and gave His life so that we could live with Him for all eternity. What an incredible gift!

God wants us to know His love for us. He wants us to feel the joy that comes from being loved more than we can ever imagine. And He wants us to share that love and joy with others.

As Chris warned in his book entitled Living Joy, “Misery is contagious and, if unchecked, ultimately leads to war. Joy is equally contagious and leads to a better world.”

Understanding this, let us take time to reflect on our lives, to cultivate joy, and to be that contagion that makes the world a better place as we lead others to Christ.   

This article appeared in the Catholic World Report at catholicworldreport.com/2024/06/03/reboot-teaches-the-fundamental-importance-of-christian-joy.

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About the author

Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine and executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program.