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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joy, what a gift!

Children show us joy, but the joy of older people is more lasting and deeper. I was reading the latest Review for Religious yesterday and have some thoughts and quotes to share with you on joy. Joy, of course, at least for me, is the song of the Spirit under the pressure of happiness and it breaks out into a constant inner melody that communicates itself to others. When we communicate joy, we make others happy. Joy makes people relax and smile; one sees joy for it cannot be concealed; joy is meant to be given away. I was thinking that the Litany of the Sacred Heart could use at least one invocation on joy: "Joy of the Heart of Jesus, fill my heart and overflow to others" might be a good one. Also, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, to your eternal joy, I unite myself." Anyway, this reflection on joy was triggered by an article by James Menkhaus. "The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: A Path to Virtue" and he quotes from Servais Pinkaers book: Morality: The Catholic View when speaking of the fourth week of the Exercises. Joy unites the virtues which are "Like arteries that carry strength and disperse joy through the entire organism of the moral life." He goes on to say that Joy is the culmination of the virtues; Ignatian joy is the culmination of the Spiritual Exercises. Joy is lasting; Joy is communicable; Joy grows by being shared; Joy repays sacrifices freely embraced; Joy belongs to the purity and generosity of love... I guess I am ready to write an ode to joy! I always find joy in prayer as I go to allow God to love me and what greater joy is there than being loved by God!! I do try to descend to the depths of the Heart of Christ, going down deep into the secret cavern and into the cleft in the rock and there I feel so surrounded and immersed in Love that joy is what bubbles up and overflows and stays with me. At the same time, I want to be with Jesus for the solitude of His Heart is a crushing reality!

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