Daily Riches: Elusive Joy (James Martin, Donald Salier, Henri Nouwen and Peter Kreeft)

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Ernest Hemingway
“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”  Mark Twain

“Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. …Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event…. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.” Henri NoJoyuwen

“Joy is not simply a fleeting feeling or an evanescent emotion; it is a deep-seated result of one’s connection to God. …Joy has an object and that object is God. …Joy is a fundamental disposition toward God … [having] ability to exist even in the midst of suffering, because joy has less to do with emotion and more to do with belief. It does not ignore pain in the world, in another’s life, or in one’s own life…. Rather, it goes deeper seeing confidence in God–and for Christians, in Jesus Christ–as the reason for joy and a constant source of joy.” James Martin and Donald Salier

“He came. He entered space and time and suffering. He came, like a lover. Love seeks above all intimacy, presence, togetherness. Not happiness. ‘Better unhappy with her than happy without her’–that is the word of a lover. He came. That is the salient fact, the towering truth…. He came. Job is satisfied even though the God who came gave him absolutely no answers at all to his thousand tortured questions. He did the most important thing and he gave the most important gift: himself. It is a lover’s gift. Out of our tears, our waiting, our darkness, our agonized aloneness, out of our weeping and wondering, out of our cry …he came, all the way, right into that cry.” Peter Kreeft

“consider it all joy”  James 1:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you “choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise?”
  • What might happen, if in spite of the world’s pain, you adopt a “fundamental disposition” of confidence in God?
  • What might happen, if in spite of your “thousand tortured questions” you experience the gift of God’s presence?

Abba, may our connection lead to fullness of joy in me.

For More: Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. 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.”

Daily Riches: The Most Infallible Sign of the Presence of God (James Martin, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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“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….”
Psalm 16:11

 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

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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.”