The Word on Fire Institute recently uploaded this video from the 2021 Good News Conference. The keynote speaker was Fr Mike Schmitz, and his talk was centred around the theme of joy: what it is, why it matters, and what joy gives witness to.

We live in a time where people are deeply unhappy, he said. This is weird because our societies are built around the idea that we should pursue our own happiness. Christianity, however, isn’t simply about happiness. In fact, Fr Schmitz said, ‘If you want happiness, you shouldn’t be a Christian. If you want joy, that’s a whole different story.’

The deepest and most enduring experience of joy comes from the knowledge of being known and loved by God, he said. Part of the problem with our pursuit of happiness, though, is the constant moving of the goalposts: we place conditions upon our happiness, waiting for certain things or events to happen before we agree to be happy. But joy is a choice, Fr Schmitz said, just like love: ‘No matter how difficult life is, there is always room for joy.’

‘There are two ways of looking at the world,’ he also said. ‘One is that God doesn’t exist, therefore do what you want because nothing matters. The other is that God does exist, therefore you can’t do whatever you want because everything matters.’

And this is what we witness: that there is a God who already knows you, that has loved you to death, that your life has meaning, and everything you do matters; that you matter to the God of the universe. If that isn’t a reason for joy, I don’t know what is.’

This message is timely, powerful, and more than worth your time.