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Joy (Finding and Spreading)

“So much of our modern drive towards “happiness” is composed of entertainment and other fictions. Those things that have no true reality to them are ephemeral, necessarily creating anxiety in the emptiness of their promise. In contrast, that which truly is, including the truth of our own existence, cannot be taken away. Our surprise in its discovery is experienced ultimately as joy, the wonder that comes in finding out that the deepest longing of our hearts is actually true and real. Fantasy and fiction, at their best, are not good because they are created by someone. They are good because they make it possible to see more clearly what God has created – something that is neither fantasy nor fiction. Such is our life. Gifts. Joy. Wonder.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“What is the true foundation of our life? In what or in whom do we place our trust? Where do we look for the fulfillment of the desires of our hearts? How we answer these questions reveals a great deal about who we are. We live in a time and place, however, that discourages us from acquiring the mindfulness necessary to attend to such ultimate matters. In the wealthiest society the world has ever known and with technological conveniences beyond what previous generations even imagined, we have become slaves to comfort, convenience, and illusions of individuality in ways that pit us against one another and make us weak before our passions. We have come to believe that anything or anyone standing in the way of fulfilling our sovereign will merits condemnation, hatred, and even violence. Like Adam and Eve, we have accepted the lie that fulfilling our self-centered desires is the path to freedom, when it is actually the highway to captivity and despair. Those created in the divine image and likeness will never find joy by grounding themselves in anything or anyone other than God.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“At this challenging time, many people are frustrated and depressed. Yet even amidst this pervasive dreariness of heart, there are some who raise our spirits. These persons are bright lights in the darkness…the faithful, are called to “lift up our hearts” so that our cheerfulness can be medicine for others in a gloomy world… the world around us should know us as the people of overflowing joy. We need not be anxious or troubled about anything. But if we are disheartened about anything, we can bring it to the God of grace (Philippians 4:6). The Great Physician who took the sick by the hand and lifted them up will do the same for us. But we do not have this “good cheer” of the Lord for ourselves alone. That joyfulness is the medicine that our dreary world so desperately needs. Where else can people find this unshakeable gladness in this world of troubles and heartaches?” (Fr. Basil)

“There is a difference between happiness and joy. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven,” says Jesus in Matthew 5:12. Material things may be desirable, even honorable, but they cannot replace the joy of the Spirit of God dwelling in my heart. Things that make me happy will fade away, but joy in my heart is irreplaceable—and eternal. Let me seek joy.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick)

“In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown tells how she used to assume that joyful people were naturally grateful. But after interviewing hundreds of people about joy and gratitude and spending hours analyzing these case studies, a surprising pattern started to emerge. Brown’s research began showing that joy emerged out of a conscious choice to engage in gratitude activities…gratitude takes practice, just like learning a musical instrument.” (Robin Phillips)


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