A little heavier read today…but excellent!
by Father Narciso Irala, S.J.
You can have a happiness and joy which is not external and vain but interior, true and well-founded, one which fills your heart with satisfaction.
This happiness has four aspects and comes to us through many channels:
Aesthetic pleasure by which we receive within us the beauty of the external world through conscious sensations, when we contemplate the beauties of nature or of the arts, and especially when we do this in the light and warmth of an ideal.
Intellectual pleasure when by intellectual concentration we possess the truth with certitude, and perfect it or complete it by analysis and synthesis.
Volitional satisfaction in the power of producing, and in doing, what we value. This type of happiness is the result of exercising a firm and constant will;and finally,—
Emotional or affective satisfaction at feeling one’s own kindness irradiating others, and the kindness of others being diffused in oneself through the elevation and equanimity of our feelings.
Your human capital is twofold: Your faculties and the time for making them produce. You can have no true satisfaction if you see your capital diminishing each day, yet bring you no return. Nor can you have any satisfaction if you feel your time passing in useless amusements or occupations.
You ought not to feel that each passing moment is lost or less profitable. You should feel that it is a source of your own and your neighbor’s well-being, and a fruitful seed of an immortal and happy life in Heaven.
To bring about this satisfaction and sense of fulfillment, the “life” element should also be present in a vigorous functioning of your intellect and will. Then you will find in your mental concept of happiness the characteristics of unity and totality.
The scholar who makes a discovery has great intellectual pleasure. The mother who is always loving and showing her love for her child is very happy even in the midst of work and sufferings.
If that pleasure of the scholar were not disturbed by other ideas and distractions and were prolonged by new and more brilliant findings, and if that of the mother had as its object not a mortal child with all its imperfections but one which would never be separated from her and had all possible good qualities, then we would have true, complete mental happiness.
Before it, all merely bodily happiness would grow pale, fade and pass away. You could sum it up in these words: fullness and unity of your mind and feelings.
Now let us see how this happiness, though limited in this world, yet unlimited, secure and eternal in the next, is in a real and true sense near at hand.
With re-education of control presupposed, apply your understanding to knowing not some small part of the truth but all the truth, infinite truth, truth in itself, God.
Each day you can discover new horizons without ever exhausting this infinite fountain of truth and beauty.
This is the joy of spiritual persons at receiving in prayer those supernatural lights which we call divine consolations. These eclipse all worldly happiness and cannot even be imagined by those who have not experienced them.
Dedicate your will and feelings to loving the infinitely lovable good, God. Strive to realize that He is not far off from you, but close by in all created things.
In these He is at your service and gives you joy. Try to possess Him in the Eucharist, human in body as you yourself. And enjoy a holy intimacy with Him, present as He is within you through sanctifying grace.
This is the type of joy in union with God that made a St. Francis of Assisi complain of the sun that it rose too early and forced him to leave the delights of a night with God.
Happiness impelled St. Ignatius, when he saw a flower, to say with tears of consolation, “Be silent, be quiet for I understand you.” He would remain in ecstatic contemplation of the Divine Beauty of which the flower was but a pale reflection.
Speaking before a Youth Congress of Catholic Action, one of the leaders said, “At first in prayer I used to look toward Heaven, but ever since I realized that God was within me, I look toward myself and feel great joy.” Tears came to his eyes and were joined to those of his listeners. He was happy at loving and feeling God within himself.
That is why the great mystics who felt the presence of God in this world speak so many marvels about this little-known happiness.
St. John of the Cross insists that the devil admitted to him that if he had a body and if, in order to see God, he would have to climb a pole studded with thorns and needles, he would not hesitate to do this for ten thousand years in exchange for enjoying the sight of God for a single minute.
Some Thoughts on Changing Sorrow into Joy
Passing over the threshing floor, the southwest wind raises eddies of dust. But, sweeping through flower gardens, it raises a cloud of perfumes.
So does the wind of suffering act differently in different souls. The Divine Heart of infinite happiness is “bound with thorns.” If you feel the touch of thorns in your heart, it is a sign that God is reaching out His heart to you, a sign of the embrace of Infinite Happiness.
But happiness will enter into you only through your wounds. God left a trail of blood at His passage through the world; no longer can there be doubt about which is the path to glory, the road to permanent happiness.
Acceptance of sorrow is a contract for work made with God. You agree to construct some great thing with Him. You are the workman who does not see the plans. God is the architect with sublime and magnificent designs.
Nothing great is accomplished without suffering and humiliation, says Newman, and everything is possible by using these means. We must be friendly with suffering. It is a selfless and faithful friend who reminds us of true goods.
Souls are instructed by word of mouth but are saved by sacrifice.
Some Thoughts on Happiness and Joy
Happiness is a noble, peaceful and recollected lady who dwells in the hidden fortress of the soul. She knows and tastes its treasures. Frequently she shows herself at the windows of the face and wreathes it with a smile. She clothes the face thus with the brilliance of rational being.
This is something about which neither animals nor the most beautiful flowers can boast.
When the polished, peaceful mirror of consciousness reflects a ray of the sun, some good possessed or soon to come, its spontaneous reflection is joy, a smile.
If the sun of Infinite Good shines directly upon it, it will reflect happiness.
Life should be a perpetual joy, the joy of living for God, of serving Him in one’s neighbor, of saving souls, the austere joy found in suffering.
There is the joy of living in a present of infinite value, joy for a past entrusted to the Divine Mercy, joy for a future assured by His Paternal Providence.
Have joy in work, and if this is beyond your powers, then have joy in prayer. If even this seems impossible for you, then have joy at least in suffering in Christ and for the sake of Heaven.
The apostle who takes doctrine and example and, together with these, sows smiles, and then waters these with prayers and sacrifices, will win many souls.
“Joy,” says St. Paul of the Cross, “is the sun of souls. It enlightens those who possess it and enlivens as many as receive its rays.”
The exercise of Christian charity is the best way to make yourself joyful. And this is your most effective contribution to the happiness of others.
Smiling eyes scatter more rays of joy than precious diamonds.
Through joy you will better perform your duties. And your burdens will be lighter. It will be your consolation in solitude and your best introduction to society. You will be the more sought after, the more trusted and better appreciated.
The vicious, degenerate or low person may come on the stage of life as a loud and vulgar jester. But he is almost never sincerely happy. Almost never can he wholly forget what weighs upon his conscience. Evil is a cold hand which freezes smiles.
But a frank and hearty smile is almost always an indication of a noble and pure heart. The virtue that smiles is the more beautiful and often the most heroic.
“To accomplish a big task, break it into a few smaller parts—these become ‘instant tasks’ that you can easily handle. It’s the big items that throw us and leave us in a panic. Think of one project that you have put off because it seemed too big to take on after a busy day or in the middle of a hectic one. Set a timer and work like mad for those 15 minutes! In a day or two you’ll have invested two or three 15-minute sessions and completed the larger task.” -Emilie Barnes, 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter http://amzn.to/2opUDer (afflink)
Lovely crocheted hats for your little lady! Available here. Perfect for Easter!
Lenten Journal Available here.