No Matter What Troubles You, Overcome It By Approaching It With Joy
What would you say if someone were to tell you that there is never any reason for anything but joy (unless you are in a state of sin)?
It's quite a remark. We live in a world of sorrow, some would reply -- especially as we approach Lent. There is certainly a lot of tragedy. Who can deny the crimes and selfishness and wars? Who can deny illness? Who can deny that there is mortality in this "valley of tears"?
And yet with eyes to Heaven (and living in the guidance of Christ), even that can be approached with happiness -- or at least a sweet consolation.
Joy is our ticket through life. It's what we should strive for. It's difficult and sometimes just about impossible, but if we can approach every aggravation with a smile, if we find happiness in each struggle, if we transcend gloominess, we place shields around us. Joy is the halo of brightness that plows through the darkness of life.
How can we possibly be happy through the trials on earth?
Upon clinical "death," said a person who had a near-death experience, one of the first lessons was that "there is a reason for everything that happens, no matter how awful it appeared in the physical realm." It is the harmony with God's laws that gives us purpose and joy.
In Heaven, nothing on earth seems like such a big deal. Great suffering is little in terms of eternity. When we die, we'll say, "Of course!" or "I should have known!" as we review those things that were learning experiences but once seemed like tragedies.
"It is always springtime in the heart that loves God," the Cure of Ars declared. And he spoke from experience. We get this from the marvelous book, A Bedside Book of Saints.
"The soul of one who serves God," said St. John of the Cross, "always swims in joy, always keeps holiday, and is always in a mood for singing"!
Joy chases away evil. Look at how radiant John Paul II was right to the end!
"Laugh and grow strong," was a saying from St. Ignatius.
St. Teresa prayed to be delivered from "sour-faced saints."
Joy heals. Joy sweeps away pessimism. Joy transcends the little trials we each encounter each week and sometimes every hour.
Joy calls your soul to heal your body, over which it rules. Even death should not daunt us. "The perfect love of God," said St. John of the Cross, "makes death welcome and most sweet to the soul."
Perfect love casts out fear and it is fear that so often robs us of joy! Everything that happens does so for a purpose, and God is in charge; truly, He is everywhere. He knows your smallest discomfort.
During tribulation, the saints were happier yet because tribulation brings us closer to God. There is joy in everything!
Fighting evil? "They wage war on the devil as though they were amusing themselves," said Chrysostom of monks in his time. "They have no sadness."
What were some names of the early monasteries? "The Bright Place." "The Delights." "The Gate of Heaven." "The Happy Meadow."
Can you smile in difficulty? Can you be happy when everything is going wrong? Can you be glad even when your schedule has been upset?
Be generous. Be full of love. Joy is the measure of our generosity. And it makes life what it should be: a trial, yes, a fight against evil, but one with such a happy ending if we serve Christ that we rise above any sorrow of this passing world with the love of God's delight.
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