Joy is the touch of God. It is His communication. And when we feel joy, He is around us.
Usually, that means we are doing something right. Meditate on the word joy.
With it we can discern: When there is a situation that strips away our energy and our joy it is to be kept at a distance. If something or someone gives us joy and strength, on the other hand, and such is lasting, it is from a good source.
Watch the ebb and flow of emotions in your life and you will discern a direction.
This is not to say that every moment on earth should be joyous. In this place of exile, of testing, such is impossible. It’s not even desirable. There are times when we have to suffer. There are times when we need purification.
But even then there should be an overarching view of life (and death) with a peaceful, joyous spirit — in the knowledge that when we suffer well, when our sorrow is not morbid (or obsessive), it accrues to our eternity, where joy is truly forever.
Pain does not mean we have to lose our joy! There are times and seasons, times when we have sorrow — but if that lasts too long, if joy does not return, something is out of balance.
Or something has to be cast off: Often we go through periods of “aridity,” when we can’t shake what seems like bad luck, and sometimes it’s because we forget to do what Jesus taught and command oppressing spirits out of us. We get trapped by our blindness. We forget to cast away darkness that strips us of joy and we forget that in the perspective of eternal life there is no “calamity” on earth that warrants hopelessness.
None. With God, there is no such thing as desperation; with God, there is an exit even out of circumstances that seem to have no exit. Butting your head against a wall will not give you “headway”; it will give you a headache.
What God wants is for us to come to Him with an open heart and plead for His direct intervention. He is the One Who breaks down barriers.
Joy is communication with God. It is the presence of His Holy Spirit. It heals. It cleanses. Look even at the famous “Joy” detergent! Joy comes with forgiveness. Can there be love without forgiveness? Is God love? When we withhold forgiveness, are we choosing our own egos over the living Presence of the Lord?
“Refusing forgiveness, as common in our time as it was in biblical times, will harden hearts, promote emotional illness, and thus cause physical illnesses,” says one writer. “We actively choose suffering for ourselves and for the unforgiven persons in our lives when we do not immediately forgive real or perceived transgressions.”
How does joy come? It comes when we pray for others. It comes when we are humble. It comes when we are self-effacing. It comes when we are kind. It comes when we are patient. It comes when we give. It comes when we pray for joy.
The happier you are, the less prone you are to colds and more serious maladies. There’s even research showing that! It’s because joy is God around you. Joy refreshes us. It revivifies. It girds.
Look at the Rosary. The first mysteries are the joyful ones. At Christmas note how many songs are written with the theme of joy and how that time of year makes people inexplicably joyful.
Whenever we find Jesus, we too have joy.
Another writer notes that it all comes down to experiencing joy in the Lord, because that is lasting and it doesn’t depend on our circumstances or our efforts. As the Bible says, the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). “Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you,” said the angel Gabriel to Mary.
We’re not talking about a falsely positive perspective. We are in serious times. We all have sufferings. But when we see those sufferings as a challenge, when we allow God to cleanse us through them, when we submit to Him, we have joy even in sorrow. Those who have experienced a glimpse of eternity come back with a description of a place that is defined by the joy it emanates. Joy is the oxygen of paradise!
In the eternal there will be a joy that does not diminish — and we can best prepare for it by doing what brings us joy now — what causes God to be joyous! Joy is defined as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; it is keen pleasure; elation.
What gives us joy is from God while what titillates, what grants us acute jolts — temporary electrical thrills; tang — is often from the bolt of lightning that fell as the devil. Feel the Joy of God! Laugh — which is an acute expression of joy. Don’t take yourself too seriously. That’s what strips you of much of your joy: self-absorption, instead letting yourself be absorbed by the Holy Spirit.