Day 15 - Rejoice!

Day 15

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let all men know your forbearance.  The Lord is at hand.  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Today we are told by God and reminded by the Church that we must always rejoice!  St. Paul's words above are oft quoted but I don't always look closely at them.  I see the rejoice part but this morning I'm noticing the parts that follow...forbearance...anxiety...supplication.  It's simply assumed that we will have trials and suffering to deal with and the need to plead.  And still the Apostle has the nerve to order us to rejoice!  But our rejoicing is not to be a flighty ignorance of suffering or problems nor is to come only after we've overcome troubles and trials and we have everything we think we need.  It happens with them and through them.  It happens in our need.  Of course, we could never do this on our own.  We rejoice only in the Lord.  He gives us the ability to bear it with joy, to release our anxieties, to even be thankful for our crosses.  We fool ourselves into thinking that our joy will be found in things, our plans, or other people but none of these will bring that peace of God.  Every one of those things is bound to disappoint.  

"This is a wonderful paradox:  that it is not that we put aside things as joy-givers but that we put them aside as the source of our joy.  It is certainly not that we feel disappointed in persons and put them aside as a cause for our joy.  No, it is that we go beyond that to the One who will never fail us, who is not ephemeral.
...It is the person most rooted in joy who sees the most beauty in things, who perhaps gets the most excited about little things...and so with persons."
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

Sometimes I get doubtful of myself that I'm not a joyful person because I fall into the fallacy that joyful equals bubbly.  Ahem.  I'm not what you would call bubbly.  But you know what?  That's not joy.  Sure, that can be evidence of joy but that is not joy.  That's temperament.  Joy is something much much deeper.  It is the interior peace and happiness that comes from knowing and trusting Him.  My joy rests in the Lord.  I am joyful.  When I allow myself to think of all the ways He has proved Himself faithful, when I sing at Mass, when I ponder His birth and His Passion, and even when I see the ways He has called me to suffer, my heart is filled to overflowing.

But I think sometimes I censor that joy.  Afraid of being too weird or labelled or because I do sometimes let my trials and anxieties overwhelm me.  Today I want to let my rejoicing in the Lord permeate everything I do, leaving aside any anxiety and allowing myself to rejoice even more in the beauty of the things and people around me.  I won't worry whether I'm rejoicing right or whether others will label be but will let Him be the source of all my joy.

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