“J” is for Joy (February 26, 2013)

…Opening To…

Yesterday, you understood a little; today, you understand better; tomorrow, you will understand better still: the light of God is growing in you. (St. Augustine of Hippo)

…Listening In…

As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. (John 15:9-11; context)

…Filling Up…

This Lent, we are exploring our faith by running through the alphabet. Today, “J” is for Joy. Thanks to the thesaurus, “joy” is a misunderstood concept. If you go to Roget’s searching for synonyms, you’ll get “pleasure, gladness, glee, happiness,” and so on. While joy definitely encompasses these positive emotions, joy itself is much more expansive than any of these other words.

Rather than being simple pleasure or happiness, joy is the pervading sense of well-being that comes when the Creator and the creature delight in one another. The Creator is forever emanating this delight, and only the limited vision or attention of the creature keeps him or her from reciprocating. When we find joy, we access the sense of delight that God has in creation. But joy doesn’t stop there.

As Thomas Merton writes, “God does not give His joy to us for ourselves alone, and if we could possess Himself for ourselves alone, we would not possess Him at all. Any joy that does not overflow from our souls and help other people to rejoice in God does not come to us from God.”

Accessing the joy of God in our lives finds completion only when we share that joy with others. This is true delight: to be a source of God’s joy emanating throughout creation.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you take delight in your creation and call it “good.” Help me to overcome the distractions in my life that keep me from fully basking in your joy so that I may be a beacon of joy to others. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, thankful that you continue to shine your light in my heart and mind, that I may continue to know you better through every way that you choose to reveal yourself.

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