Skip to main content

Joy

On the radio this morning, the DJs were talking about joy in the realm of the Christian experience.  "Joy" can be a tough one - we tend to think of it as overwhelming happiness - like how we'd feel if we won the lottery or someone gave us a new car for Christmas with a big ribbon wrapped around it.

But joy is different than happiness, as happiness depends on circumstances, and joy is a choice. I thought this little snippet from Fr. John Hardon, SJ, was instructive:

True joy is the result of having these desires satisfied. But notice, and the word is only those desires satisfied which are truly good. What then is truly good which, once we get it and possess it, we are happy? Your desire corresponds with what God wants. That’s why one of the greatest blessings for the United States would be if the psychiatric profession closed shop. I know, there are some still sane and God fearing psychiatrists, but their number is very small. Happiness does not consist in desiring or acquiring what we want but what God wants. And remember, God does not exist, God does not exist to satisfy our wants, we exist to satisfy the wants of God. And the wants in the word want is meaningless when applied, as we ordinarily use the word, to God. God does not want anything in the sense of need. In English the two words are practically synonyms. Am I clear? Is it what I want is what I need. Is that true? [No] That what I want is what I need? No. Can I want what I don’t need? You mothers with your children, do the children always want what you know they need? That’s why over the years, in taking medication, the label on some of the bottles ‘childproof’. But I’m told it’s almost impossible to manufacture a container which is childproof. Children will swallow anything swallowable and sometimes even things that are not swallowable. True joy then is a result of having those desires satisfied which then we desire what leads us to heaven. And then, by the way is the most fundamental meaning of the adjective, right. What is the right thing to do? That which leads to heaven. [Emphasis added.] And this is where, my own father in God, St. Ignatius, was so emphatic at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises that we daily examine our consciences and ask ourselves, for example during the past day, all the things that I have chosen to do, have they all been things that will lead me to heaven. If they’re not, I examine my conscience and then I tell myself now this afternoon for me is twice a day. Then I remove from my life things that I may find very pleasant but which faith and sound reason tell me would not lead me to my eternal destiny. So then finally we desire what leads to our destiny and God is the only One, the only One who can tell us what we really need.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…