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July 29, 2018

The Presence of Joy is the Presence of the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit Graphic

Reflection by Dr. Adriane Gullotta-Gsell Ph.D.

The Joy of God’s “Presence” is what humanity has been continually invited to accept throughout time. Adam and Eve enjoyed that gift in the Garden of Eden until they fell into the first sin. 

In Genesis 3:8-9 we read, “They heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the PRESENCE of the Lord among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

When I read those verses the first time, it touched the depth of my heart. While I realized that the Lord already knew where his children were in the garden, I felt a sense of the Father’s personal loss because he deeply missed them.

It’s plain to see that this took place because God seeks a communal relationship with his children. We will only find our joy and his presence when we comply with his perfect loving will, stop hiding from him, and accept the Gift of the Holy Spirit. 

As Catholics, I believe that God calls out, “Where are you?” to each and every one of us so that we continually speak to him in dialogue throughout our day. I also believe that we are individually called to attend Mass to receive his real presence in the Holy Eucharist personally. In other words, we’re supposed to show up, dialogue, and be truly present in our relationship with God. 

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24 

The words, “Ask” and “Receive” convey an active give and take relationship that involves speech, trust, and joy. 

We know that joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; therefore, when we feel joy or meet others who have joy, we are in the presence of the Holy Spirit who is making himself known in the joy. In Romans 15:13 Paul teaches us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Our joy will be complete in him. When we have the Holy Spirit, we have EVERYTHING! 

Oh, but one question probably surfaces for many. How is our joy affected when people hurt us, there is sickness and death, or life just doesn’t go the way we want it to go?

Joy is an internal experience that will remain within us as we sustain our relationship with the Lord. Therefore, I can be suffering because of the pain of illness and still have joy because of the presence of the Lord through the Holy Spirit in my life. Happiness, on the other hand, is an external, worldly and fleeting emotion that is based on “happenings.” When good things happen…I feel happy.

When good things fade, unfortunately, so does the happiness. Hence, “The presence of Joy is the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

Personal Prayer

Lord God, in the name of “Jesus,” breathe your breath of new life into me the way you did to Adam when you created him in the garden. Give me a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that I may live in the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit and in your presence.
Give me the grace to never hide myself from you in sin but to always remain present in an up close, ongoing, and personal relationship with you.
I love you, Lord Jesus, and want the joy of your loving presence!
Call out to me by saying,
“Where are you?” when I go astray or hide from you so that I will always stay in communion with you.
My joy is overflowing when I am with you, Lord!
I ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Dr. Adriane Gullotta-Gsell Ph.D.


Dr. Adriane Gullotta-Gsell is a licensed psychologist in Red Bank, NJ and has been in the field of counseling psychology for over 35 years. Dr. Adriane has a Ph.D and MS from Fordham University, and an MA in Theology from Georgian Court University. She is married for 40 years, has two married daughters, and a precious grandson.