The Joy of a Pup

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.’” – Luke 1:41-44

While reading this passage and praying through what God wanted me to receive from the verses the words above popped off the page at me. It is fascinating to imagine being in this scene with Mary and Elizabeth, witnessing baby John the Baptist leaping inside of Elizabeth’s womb. Mary walks into the house and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.

Both of these events, that is, Elizabeth and John the Baptist’s reactions to Jesus in Mary’s womb, seem so miraculous and so out of touch in our times. The truth is that these happenings shouldn’t be at all abnormal, but rather these should be the norm for our lives in how we rejoice in the Lord – whenever we approach Jesus in the Eucharist and receive Him we should be filled with the Holy Spirit and leap for joy.

One thing that comes to mind when I think of being joyful is the excitement that our puppy shows when we come home from a day of work or errands. His name is Gizmo, and he has the sweetest little face, and he loves to lick as a way of showing affection. He will make a high squealing noise and jump for joy at the noise of his people turning the key in the back door. The joy and excitement that he exuberates, while animalistic in nature, ultimately demonstrates an innocence and love so strong that we can compare to our own lives and relationship with God. Do we praise Him joyfully, no matter the circumstances in our lives? Do our hearts leap for joy at the beauty and mystery of receiving our Lord in the Eucharist, or does this become a mundane routine that we participate in because it is what we have always done? Do we hold onto our joy in anticipation of the time when we will be fully united with Jesus?

In The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux she often talks about Jesus’s thirst for souls, and how all He wants is to be with us no matter what. What if we approached each and every breath we are given in life with thanksgiving and joy to God? How many souls would be drawn to our joy as a beacon in this dark world? Putting aside all of the misfortune and hurt that we experience in our lives we can be comforted by one thing – our God is the same and always will be. He is Love, the Good Shepherd, and the Living Bread.

The peace of knowing God is constant is enough reason for us to leap for joy and be filled with the Holy Spirit, and He desires that we participate in His goodness with every heartbeat. Jesus gives us all of Himself in the Eucharist – I dare you to approach Him with a leaping heart of joy and be at peace with the Spirit He gives you as you receive Him. While we may not always be happy, as this is a fleeting emotion, joy is and can be a constant in our lives if we keep our eyes on Jesus, the source and summit of our Faith. I pray that we all live with a joyful heart of anticipation just like Elizabeth, John the Baptist, and even little Gizmo.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD.  Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II. She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at