We next ran into joy when Bob and Larry (you know, the tomato and cucumber) were talking about joy at the end of one of their videos. According to them happiness that lasts is called joy and we have joy when we use the gifts and talents God has given us the way God intended us to use them.
So, if we are in the midst of a severe trial, be it health, financial, death of a loved one, etc., how do we keep our joy? Well, according to a book I was reading by St. Claude de la Columbière entitled Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, "...whatever the manner of our life we should always accept adversity joyfully." Easy to agree with, hard to live. He goes on to say that adversity purifies us and enables us to acquire greater merit. Later on in the book, he outlines a way of praying that just never occurred to me. It's easy to remember to ask for trials to be removed, but he is suggesting that we go one step further and ask for joy whether the trial is removed or not. Here is what he has to say:
"Let me show you a good way to ask for happiness even in this world. It is a way that will oblige God to listen to you. Say to him earnestly: Either give me so much money that my heart will be satisfied, or inspire me with such contempt for it that I no longer want it. Either free me from poverty, or make it so pleasant for me that I would not exchange it for all the wealth in the world. Either take away my suffering, or -- which would be to your greater glory -- change it into delight for me, and instead of causing me affliction, let it become a source of joy. You can take away the burden of my cross, or you can leave it with me without my feeling its weight. You can extinguish the fire that burns me, or you can let it burn in such a way that it refreshes me as it did the three youths in the fiery furnace. I ask you for either one thing or the other. What does it matter in what way I am happy? If I am happy through the possession of worldly goods, it is you I have to thank. If I am happy when deprived of them, it gives you greater glory and my thanks are all the greater."
Wow! This book is quite a treasure. Since a friend gave it to me, I will try to find out where to get it and let you all know. So, as we head into Lent, hopefully we can remember to ask the Lord to keep joy in our hearts in the midst of whatever Lenten trials He wishes to send us.
Happy Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Paczki Day and Fat Tuesday!