Friday, April 25, 2008

That Your Joy Will Be Complete

Yesterday at noon Mass the priest spoke of Christ's giving us peace so that our joy may be complete. He shared of a friend who told him four ways in which our joy will always be complete. They are practical statements of advice: always pay your bills, pay your taxes, watch your health, and obey God's commandments.

For the first two, it is obvious that stress and trouble come from not paying what we owe. At a deeper level, we have problems of all kinds when we do not obey God's commandments.

What stopped me short was the advice to watch our health, for if we do not have good health our joy, then, will not be complete. I did not have opportunity to ask him about this after Mass. Perhaps I ask too many questions, as I'd asked a couple two days in a row having to do with Scripture or something said in a homily.

But it seems as if one can watch one's health, but often (most often?) health is something one cannot control. Yes, we can eat properly, not smoke, not drink (this is following God's commandments in various ways), exercise, and try to have loving attitudes and inner calm. But one cannot control various diseases or illnesses coming on, or a drunk driver altering one's spine, or a stroke or heart disease or various maladies that stem from heredity.

Does that mean that all these people will not have complete joy? It is hard for me to fathom that God would intend that, for he says our joy will be complete in Christ.

Yes, for those who suffer poor health, it is very challenging to be joyful for one has to in extra measure cooperate with God, comprehend suffering as joy, accept suffering as a means of purification and of reparation for souls, and also to be open to receiving the grace of joy from God which often comes from the Holy Spirit and at times, also, through the mediation of graces from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There is effort in one who suffers to cooperate with God in having joy. Complete joy is something I desire, and I desire it all the time. This morning my joy is not as complete as it is sometimes, and that makes one wonder if complete joy can be less complete and yet still complete joy. However, I will take some over the counter pain relievers, for often I forget to do that! It does help in joyfulness to have some of the pain assuaged. But more than subdued pain, the attitude and interior disposition seems to be the pivotal point of complete joy. Without love and graciousness of the mind and soul--of attitude--complete joy seems far less complete and squeezed out by irritability.

In general, one can watch one's health. But watching it does not mean one will always have good health. In fact, we all do suffer and die. Does that mean our joy is not complete and will not be complete? I think this statement is good advice but does not hold through in what Jesus hopefully meant. Our joy is complete in Him. That is a different kind of joy than a temporal kind of joy. Complete joy is only possible in Jesus Christ, and that requires loving Him and having a very close and personal relationship with Him.

In fact, it might have less to do with matters such as physical health.

I give much leeway to the practical suggestions offered for having complete joy, since the priest was sharing what a friend in Nigeria had said. In a country and culture with many trials of survival and health problems, one would view complete joy in practical ways and not quite in the same way as those who have more health aides and medical availability. Yet, it is a good idea to watch one's health, for without health, life is indeed altered and challenging in may ways.


Blogger nothing said...

Dear Solanus,

I love your comment and have it but somehow cannot get it to publish. Can you resend it? There is so much in it which expresses beautiful aspects of your soul! Thanks if you can resend. I will write it out longhand if I must, and then rewrite it on the comment part!

4:48 PM  
Blogger nothing said...

Sorry--I found the comment you sent--such a good one!--and it is posted under the appropriate blog!

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is the "Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart of Jesus" an order? If so, I'm interestede. I'm only 16, but when I'm weak, God is strong. I wouls like to begin a dialogue with you.

7:51 AM  
Blogger nothing said...

Dear Anonymous,

So you suffer so young?
Yes, in a way, the Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an "Order of the Present Moment" with St. Joseph as patron and our suffering
the work, moment by moment, as Jesus wills, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, imbued by God the Father with the love of the Most Blessed Trinity. The Virgin Mary is the Handmaid of which we are the maidservants, learning from her how to be sorrowful with peace and joy, awaiting union with her Son.

I haven't been writing the blogs since August. You may dialog via here, and if you want to send your e-mail, I can write back without publishing your e-mail, and then you can have my anonymous e-mail for that purpose.

I will pray for you at noon Mass.

8:06 AM  

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