Joy is the Fruit of Love

Oscar Wilde wrote a beautiful story that I think fits in well with today’s Gospel account and Jesus’ commandment of loving one another.  The story is as follows:

Every afternoon as they came home from school the children played in the Giant’s garden.  It was a lovely garden, with soft green grass and fragrant flowers.  Twelve apple trees grew there, which in spring broke out in lovely blossoms, and in autumn were laden with large red apples.

Once the Giant went away for seven years.  He returned home on a winter’s day to find the local children playing in the garden.  He got very angry.  “Get out of here!” he cried.  “The garden is mine.  No one plays in it but me.”    He chased them out and put up a big sign on the gate which said: TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.  Now the children had nowhere to play except on the dusty road.  They used to wander around the high walls sadly.

Spring came, and all over the land there were lovely blossoms and the birds sang happily.  Only in the Giant’s garden it was still winter.  There no green leaf or blade of grass or flower appeared.  There the birds refused to sing.  Snow covered the grass with a white cloak, and frost painted the trees silver.  Then they invited the north wind to stay with them, and he was glad to come.  And they invited the hail, and he too came.

“I cannot understand why spring is so late in coming,” said the Giant, as he sat by the window and looked out at his cold, white garden.  “I hope there will be a change in the weather soon.”  But the spring never came, nor the summer.  Autumn came and gave fruit to every garden but not to his.

The following year he awoke one morning to find that the hail had stopped dancing, and the north wind had ceased blowing.  A lovely perfume came to him.  “I believe that spring has come at last,” he said.  He jumped out of bed, looked out the window, and saw a wonderful sight.  Through a little hole in the garden wall the children had crept in and were sitting in the branches of the trees.  And the trees were so glad to have them back that they covered themselves in blossoms.

The Giant quietly approached the garden and with a broad smile on his face approached the children.  Then in a kind voice he said to them, “It’s your garden now.”  He knocked down the wall.  When the people were going to the market they saw the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

Jesus gives us the commandment to love one another.  When we refuse to love, we build a wall around ourselves.  But we are the first one suffer as we condemn ourselves to a winter of loneliness and unhappiness.  But, when we love, the wall falls down.  We open ourselves to others and we are the first to benefit.  We experience a springtime of goodwill, peace and joy.

Jesus speaks about love and joy in the same breath.  This is because they are intimately linked.  Joy is the fruit of love.  Joy is an overflowing heart.  The amount of joy we experience in life is in proportion to the amount of love we share with others.  If you don’t find yourself being a joyful and joy-filled person, perhaps it is telling you something.

— Fr. Denni,s May 6, 2018