Posted tagged ‘practice’

In Pursuit of Joy

April 9, 2017

JMJ

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,
do;
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 🙂


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