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Joy and Faith

“The word joy (charas) refers to exceeding gladness…Thus, the angel said to the shepherds, “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy…” (Luke 2:10). In the Gospel of John, the Lord teaches that abiding in His love fosters pure joy: “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Then Jesus said that joy is the reward for the faithful stewards in the Parable of the Talents. In this story, the Master invites His faithful stewards to “Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25: 21 & 23). Moreover, Paul writes that the converts who have come to believe in Christ are his “glory and joy” (1 Thess. 3:20)…. But surprisingly, the New Testament often associates joy with suffering. The apostle writes in James, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2). Likewise, Paul says, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 7:4). And the apostle in Hebrews recalls the “struggles and sufferings” of his readers. He reminds them, “… for you had compassion on me in my chains and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and enduring possession for yourselves in heaven (Hebrews 10:32 & 34). Finally, though the disciplining of the Lord may not be joyful now, it is training that produces the gladness of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11).” (Fr. Basil)


“The return to the deification of reason is a feature of the modern era, though its impressive technological achievements also involve the fear factor and the risk of surprises for the future of humankind. What is rare and often totally lacking is existential joy. Western Puritanism projected a ‘watered-down’ Christ and a ‘watered-down’ Christian life, far from ‘rejoice always’ (1 Thess. 5, 17). People today are looking for real joy and aren’t finding it. We need to understand, however, that joy, as our most sublime feeling, can’t exist and be expressed outside the realm of our own being or without dynamic reference to other people. So a requirement for joy is the spiritual state of the person concerned and a positive attitude towards others. Saint John Chrysostom aptly remarks: ‘Those who are in God are always joyful. Even if sorrow befalls them or even if they’re suffering, such people always rejoice.” (Archimandrite Kyrillos Kostopoulos)


“…faith brings joy. Paul does not speak against the law but gives priority to faith. It is not possible to be saved by the law, but we are saved by God’s grace through faith. Therefore the law itself is not wrath, but it brings wrath, i.e., punishment, to the sinner, for wrath is born from sin.” (Ambrosiaster)


“Faith isn’t diminished in the least by the fact that not everyone believes. Don’t concern yourself with non-believers. Look at those who truly believe and you’ll see what they enjoy through their faith. The Christian faith isn’t a philosophical system but a way for Christ, as God and human person, to reform fallen people through the grace of the Holy Spirit. So look carefully at those who follow in the footsteps of Christ. And you’ll see how they gradually grow, how they mature spiritually and how great they become, even if they’re insignificant to the rest of the world.” (Saint Theophan the Recluse)


“Faith and love of Christ make a true Christian. Our sins in no way hinder our Christianity, as we can tell from the words of the Savior Himself. He stated that He had ‘not been called to judge the righteous, but to save the sinful - there is more joy in Heaven at one sinner who repents than at ninety-nine righteous men’ (Mt 9:13; Lk 15:7).” (St. Herman of Alaska)



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