On both Palm Sunday and Good Friday, our priest mentioned a quote he had read from somewhere (I hate the fact that I can never remember the important information!!). The quote is as follows, "If you cannot transform your suffering, you will transmit it." I tossed that around in my brain a few times and realized how profound that really is. The fact that it has stuck with me intact for that many days means that I must really need to live it. Well, lo and behold, this morning's reading of "In Conversation with God" was all about transforming our suffering into joy. There is so much here, I will try to be brief.
"We must always foster joy and optimism and reject sadness, which is sterile and leaves the soul at the mercy of many temptations. When one is happy, one is a stimulus and an encouragement for others; sadness, on the other hand, obscures and causes damage." (vol 2, pg. 302)
How true is that. But once again, easy to read, hard to live. On a day like today where the weight of the world seems to be resting on my shoulders, how easy it is to fall into sadness, which then so easily falls into grumpiness and yelling. It is the much easier road to choose, but one that leaves me feeling even more down. How often do I see the effects of my sadness in my children, or more importantly, in their behavior? How often does it "obscure and cause damage" to them?
So then, what about this: "To be happy is a form of giving thanks to God for the innumerable gifts He gives us. Joy is the first tribute we owe him, the simplest, most sincere way of showing that we are aware of the gifts of nature and grace He showers upon us, and which we thank him for. God the Father is pleased with us when he sees us happy and joyful with true gladness." (pg. 302) So why is it that it is so hard to crawl out from under the weight of the world? I have much to be thankful for and be happy about, why is it so hard to remember that when I have a day that drags me down? "God wants the home where we live to be a bright and cheerful home, never a dark unhappy place, full of tension due to egocentricity and lack of mutual comprehension." (pg. 303) Ahhh, there it is again, ever so quietly sneaking into that sentence...egocentricity, or in other words...selfishness. So, I guess in order to transform my suffering rather than transmit it, I need to look beyond myself to Jesus and to others. Isn't that the acronym for JOY - Jesus, Others, Yourself. Walking that road is not as easy. It requires work on our part in the form of prayer, perseverance, participation in the Sacraments, and a lot of grace from God. So on this first day of the octave of Easter, let us rejoice and be glad, for Our Lord has risen from the dead as He said. Shouldn't that be enough?
In an effort to transmit joy instead of suffering, I would like to share a joke that Father told us during his homily on Sunday. I hope you get a good laugh out of it like we all did.
There are two men on a plane en route to a business meeting. In the seat in front of them is a nun. Noticing the nun, the 1st man says to the 2nd, "You know, I had a trip all planned to Mexico but I cancelled it because there are just too many Catholics there." Picking up on it, the 2nd man said, "Yeah, I know what you mean. We had a trip planned to Poland, but that place is crawling with Catholics, so we didn't go." The 1st man replied, "Can you believe the Philippines? That place is about 95% Catholic, we can't go there either." The 2nd man said, "I know. We really want to go to Rome, but with the Pope there and all..." Finally the nun could stand it no longer. She stood up, turned to the two men and calmly said, "Why don't the two of you go to hell? I hear there are no Catholics there" and then sat back down.