Posted tagged ‘discipline’

In Pursuit of Joy

April 9, 2017


A friend was recently prompted to pursue joy,
to be intentional about becoming more joyful.

These came to mind as being particularly helpful…

An aspiration to pray often
(memory aid: pray it when you pass by something you see often,
such as a picture of Jesus):

My God, I rejoice that You are infinitely happy.
~St. Alphonsus de Liguori

(I add, “and that You have loved me into being
that I may share in Your infinite happiness”)

Quotes for reflection:

Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.
-Nehemiah 8:10

This next one is my mainstay–there’s so much in it!
Joy is a choice, and it can be learned.
It requires an act of the will,
discipline of the mind to turn it away from evil and to good,
confidence in God
& dependence on Him (prayer with thanksgiving).

Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say Rejoice.
Let all men know your forbearance [gentleness, patience].
The Lord is at hand.
Have no anxiety about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving [the Greek is “eucharistia”]
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding,
will keep [as a guard keeping watch]
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
What you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me,
and the God of peace be with you.

I rejoice in the Lord greatly
that now at length you have revived your concern for me;
you were indeed concerned for me,
but you had no opportunity.
Not that I complain of want;
for I have learned, in whatever state I am,
to be content
I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound;
in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret
of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:4-13

Romans 8:14-39, encouragement about the glory & security
God’s working out for us, starting now. In God, we’re invincible.

True joy, genuine festival,
means the casting out of wickedness.
To achieve this one must live a life of perfect goodness
and, in the serenity of the fear of God,
practise contemplation in one’s heart.
~Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal
which comes upon you to prove you,
as though something strange was happening to you.
But rejoice in so far as you share
in Christ’s sufferings,

that you may also rejoice and be glad
when His glory is revealed.
If you are reproached for the Name of Christ, you are blessed,
because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
~I Peter 4:12-14

In His farewell speech at the Last Supper,
Jesus said twice, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1, 27).
That’s a command.
He gave us His peace (Jn 14:27) to enable us to obey it.

Thus says the Lord to you,
Fear not, and be not dismayed at this great multitude;
for the battle is not yours but God’s.
~2 Chronicles 20:15

But this is God’s cause
God’s honour, His infinite greatness, and divine dignity
are involved.
It is not becoming that His magnificent plan
should be defeated through the machinations of an adversary
whom He had cast out of Heaven for his crimes.
God created man for His own glory,
and predestined his nature to everlasting union with Himself;
and inasmuch as the malice of Satan
was more aimed at his Creator than at man
it became the Infinite Majesty,
and was most worthy the divine goodness,
that He should rescue man from his misery,
and defeat the malignity of Satan.

St. Athanasius boldly declares that
it would be unworthy of God’s goodness
to suffer His own work in man to be destroyed
through the devil’s fraud
It would be unbecoming that God’s workmanship in man
should become extinct,
whether through his own negligence
or through the devil’s imposition.”
(S. Athanas., De Incarnatione Verbi.)
The devil could not be allowed so to gain his end
as to deprive God of the glory of perfecting His own work.
The great St. Leo has argued the point in these terms:
“Forasmuch as the devil glorified
that man had lost the divine gifts
through his fraud and deception,
and had so been stripped of his immortality,
and placed under the stern sentence of death;
and forasmuch as the same Satan had obtained
a solace to his wickedness
bringing over a companion to his prevarication;
it pleased God to change the first sentence passed on man,
a sentence both just and deservedly severe,
and passed on one whom He had established in honour.
But this demanded the dispensation of God’s secret counsel,
that He who is unchangeable,
and whose will cannot lose its benignity,
may complete His fatherly design in a mystery more hidden;
and that, however driven to crime
by the devil’s craft and wickedness,
man may not perish in opposition
to the whole intention of God.”
(S. Leo, Servi. 2 in Nativitate Domini)
~Archbishop Ullathorne, The Endowments of Man

God bless your meditations on joy 🙂


Living In The Upper Room

November 12, 2015


We should always look to God as in ourselves,
no matter in what manner we meditate upon Him,
so as to accustom ourselves to dwell in His divine presence.
For when we behold Him within our souls,
all our powers and faculties,
and even our senses,
are recollected within us.
If we look at God apart from ourselves
we are easily distracted by exterior objects.
~St. Margaret Mary

That makes intuitive sense…
but it’s always felt as though finding God within
meant looking down,
below, in my body,
which didn’t quite sit right…

I’m sure that could spark a fruitful meditation on humility…
but in the meantime, Archbishop Ullathorne and the Glorious Mysteries
gave me another tack:

The Glorious Mysteries are about rising
–rising from the dead, rising to Heaven–
and Archbishop Ullathorne (following many others before him)
contrasts our lower (animal) nature
with our higher, grace-infused, nature,
in which we are “already seated with Christ at God’s right hand”
(see Ephesians 2:6).
From thence, He lets fall into my lower nature
the flames of love of the Holy Spirit,
that my lower nature might be lifted up too,
as was the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This superior part of the soul
reminds me of the upper room
the Shunammite woman built for the prophet Elisha
so he would have a place to stay when he passed through
(and where he raised her son from the dead, see 2 Kings 4:8ff),


and of the Upper Room
where Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist,
and where the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles
who had prayed there for nine days.


It’s a place to build within my soul;
a place above;
a place for God to dwell;
a place to meet Him, to welcome Him,
to abide with Him,
to receive His Life;
a place of power.

Its foundation is in Heaven,
not on earth.

The floods of water may reach high
but him they shall not reach
~Psalm 32:6

Though its waters rage and foam,
though the mountains be shaken by its waves,
the Lord of Hosts is with us
The God of Jacob is our stronghold
~Psalm 46:4


The passions flood the lower part of the house;
their waters rage and foam.
But when I discipline myself to stay in the “upper room”,
in the superior part of my nature,
with Jesus,
I don’t get swept away.

The Mighty Lord is with me,
he God of Jacob is my stronghold!

It sure doesn’t take much
to get sucked in.

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