“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“In some religious circles, joy, humor, and laughter are viewed as excessive, irrelevant, ridiculous, inappropriate, and even scandalous. But a lighthearted spirit is none of those things. Rather, it is an essential element of a healthy spiritual life and a healthy life in general. When we lose sight of this serious truth, we cease to live life fully, truly, and wholly. Indeed, we fail to be holy. …People seemed fascinated by joy. It’s almost as if they’d been waiting to be told that it’s okay to be joyful believers. Still, many clergy, as well as some devout believers in general, give the impression that being religious means being dour, serious, or even grumpy. Joylessness is nondenominational and interfaith. Religious organizations seem to reward the more serious types; they rise to the top because their dour attitude is perhaps seen as proof of the seriousness of their intent. People’s past experiences with the clergy leads them to equate ministry with melancholy. But the lives of the saints, as well as those of great spiritual masters from almost every other religious tradition, show the opposite. Holy people are joyful. Why? Because holiness brings us closer to God, the source of all joy. Joy, a characteristic of those close to God, is a sign of not only a confidence in God, but also … gratitude for God’s blessings. …Joy, humor, and laughter show one’s faith in God. For Christians, an essentially hopeful outlook shows people that you believe in the Resurrection, in the power of life over death, and in the power of love over hatred.” James Martin
“You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence….”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- When you look at your life for signs of spiritual health, do you look for joy? Do you find it?
- Have you fallen into the trap of blaming your circumstances or temperament for a lack of joy? Of thinking joy is unimportant?
- Do you spend time in God’s presence in a way that brings you joy? If not, why not?
Abba, you know I’m too often joy-challenged. Fill me with your Spirit, and with joy.
For More: Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”