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Daily Meditation – For the Love of Joy

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
— John 15:11

If you haven’t watched the Messiah/Complex advertised in our weekly announcements you are missing an amazing celebration of Canadian culture and landscape; 6 languages, 12 soloists, 4 choirs, “ lifted by the sound of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra”, and of course given to us by Handel. As I watch an indigenous singer dance through the Yukon snow I unexpectedly burst into tears. I don’t cry easily but my chest filled with so much joy tears just flooded down my cheeks.

Joy is an essential daily spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude, hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive. Joy is our elated response to feelings of happiness, experiences of pleasure, and awareness of abundance. It is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune. Invite joy into your life. One way is by staging celebrations. Host (COVID friendly) festivities to mark transitions and changes in your life. Yes, even in pandemic times we can find ways to celebrate. Toast moments of happiness you notice as you go through your day. Dance — jump for joy — as often as possible. Life is not meant to be endured; it is to be enjoyed.

The Spiritual Practice of Joy ( from website: Spirituality and Practice)
The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.
— Julian of Norwich quoted in Meditations with Julian of Norwich by Brendan Doyle

The beating heart of the universe is holy joy.— Martin Buber quoted in Simplicity: The Art of Living by Richard Rohr

We often talk about the spiritual practice of joy in the same breath with its companions. We say joy and sorrow, happiness and sadness, smiles and tears, the ecstasy and the agony. The experience of one intensifies our awareness of the other. Sorrow, for example, may be the price we pay for joy; when we have known great happiness in a relationship, we feel its loss more deeply. Or think of those times when you laugh so hard you cry.

Joy will usually be part of a set of symptoms presenting in your life. The best protocol is to be thankful for the intensity of these feelings. When you are experiencing sorrow and sadness, when the tears are flowing, remember they can be steppingstones to joy.

But sometimes we can place roadblocks in front of bringing joy into our lives. Edward Hays in The Great Escape Manual names one of them which particularly speaks to me, “To wholeheartedly rejoice in another's good can deliver us from the chains of competition. While polite congratulations may be socially correct, it is not liberating. It takes a wholehearted delight in another's accomplishments or good fortune to free us and enlarge our hearts.” I think competition could also be translated into envy or jealously or anger. I must admit there are times when I am so immersed in my own world that I don’t allow God’s joyfulness to enter. And then I miss out, on bringing joy to someone else and to myself.

Here are some helpful daily cues, reminders, vows and blessings to trigger joy in your life:

• Passing a smiling person on the street is my cue to practice joy.
• Whenever I see people dancing, whenever I hear people singing joyfully or hear children laughing, I am reminded to release the joy that resides in me.
• Knowing how much pleasure there is in making others happy, I vow to practice joy.
• Blessed is Lady Wisdom who draws an abundance of joy from our souls.