Joy! It is such an important ingredient when raising a family! There will be something (terribly) missing and your children may be tempted to jump ship….if there is no joy. Why would they want what you have….your religion, your way of life…..if you don’t have joy? It’s something worth praying for and striving for! Father Considine may help us today!
Rev. Daniel Considine, S.J., 1950’s
St. Paul says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.'( 1 Phil. iv. 4.).
If we want to serve God, joy should be not only an element; it should be the staple of our life.
Our difficulties are so great, our enemies so many, that unless we are supported by joy, we shan’t do what God wants us to do. It is a point of great consequence.
There is a sort of impression that in the service of God there ought to be a certain sobriety, an earnestness-yes, sadness, which makes the distinction between the service of the world, and the service of God; and that those who serve God must expect more tribulation and uneasiness of mind. Entirely false.
St. Paul, speaking under the dictation of the Holy Spirit, says, ‘Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.’ If we think the ideal of a religious person is to be sad, it is quite wrong; it is the direct opposite to the truth.
We are never so much fitted to cope with the difficulties of the spiritual life as when we are in joy. Often, when difficulties are to follow, God strengthens souls by an extra dose of joy. He expands the heart, and fills us with more faith and hope and love, and so makes us ready to overcome our enemies.
Read carefully the Acts of the Apostles: no one can read them without being struck by the spirit of buoyancy and exaltation that fills and pervades them; one might almost call it high spirits.
The Apostles carried their lives in their hands; they were scourged, and came forth from their severe flogging full of joy, rejoicing they were found worthy to suffer for Our Lord. We certainly then can’t be doing wrong in making our lives lives of joy.
This matter bears on our daily life. Is this our view? We are so apt to think others have so much to make their lives happy. ‘They ought to rejoice.’ The question remains: does God mean ME to rejoice in Him? Don’t evade the difficulty by saying, ‘Oh, it’s some sort of spiritual joy which I don’t understand: ordinary joy I can’t feel.’
‘What is meant if not real joy, real happiness, and if you don’t feel the service of God produces this, there is something wrong with you.
It is a very common error-that God sends us trials for their own sake. Looking on pain and trouble as good things is not a sound view. It does us harm by making us think God takes pleasure in seeing us suffer.
The greatest possible happiness to be got out of life is in the service of God. God doesn’t like to see us cry, even though it is good for us. It pains God for me to suffer pain- that is a lovable and TRUE view of God. To think of the Passion as God heaping torments on His Son is Jansenist.
Taking our lives as they are, and being happy in them, is a true way to perfection.
Very few crosses are DIRECTLY sent by God. God permits them, but they come from someone, or something else, or from ourselves- being disappointed in something we had aimed at. We should cut down our estimate of what God really sends us very considerably.
What does He want of me? He wants you to take your life as it is, bearing your trials and disappointments as quietly as you can. Empty lamenting over things not being as they ought to be, must be eschewed.
The way to make things better is not to be doleful, but happy and cheerful. ‘Your joy no man shall take from you . . .’ (I John xvi. 22).
Our life is as it is: in that I am to find the material for serving God. Supposing even my trials are my own fault really-the results of my own actions staring me in the face.
If I can’t put it to rights, let me be sorry for what is wrong and go on cheerfully. Start afresh. The service of God is from hour to hour and from day to day. If things are going contrary, it is a pity to be thinking we have great crosses and trials, and bemoaning ourselves: the way to do work for God is to be full of happiness. . . . No heart was ever so tender as the Heart of Our Lord; He couldn’t see a person weep without wanting to stop their tears.
Then how am I to account for my life being so full of misery?-Is it all as I think? If the fault is in me, it is hard to put it all on God.
You don’t think your temper, for instance, comes down straight from God? God respects our free will. Should we like to be milksops in God’s service? One of Our Lord’s favored servants prayed to Him to take away certain faults of temper in her Superior. ‘Not at all,’ Our Lord answered her, ‘they are very good for you, and for her too. She is so sorry for them. I love her all the more.’
We need not be dissatisfied because we have no special trial; bearing with our wretched bodies and souls is the staple of our service to God. ‘Traffic till I come.’ (Luke xix.13). Bear the cross and all your difficulties well – don’t make much of them.
We ought to be ashamed to run like children with a hurt finger for sympathy and consolation in every little trouble. God loves His own as the apple of His eye. Bear all then in love and patience for His sake.
We must get out of our heads the idea that we can only be religious by being miserable. If you will think of God as difficult and unapproachable, – if you are afraid of Him, and think He is high and haughty, and far away from you, you won’t love Him.
One of the ruses of the devil, whenever we fall short of the highest standard, is to tell us: ‘You art not one of those chosen souls who are called to love God.’
You must think of Him as one who knows our poor craven natures. He knows it all seems flat and monotonous, and that you feel weary of well-doing. It will all pass: Our Lord hasn’t abandoned you.
Hold on – it will all come right again. When we are unfaithful, to believe that Our Lord will give us up, that is utterly false. We can never love Our Lord as we should, if we think He remembers things against us. Remember the way He behaved towards His Apostles.