True joy – it really is everywhere. Of course, it’s easy to see in a smile, a wave, or a friendly hello. It can be heard in the laughter of a child at play, or felt in discovering that you made an A on a test. Or can it? While these things may seem to bring joy, they really don’t. The feelings experienced at such times are simply the results of pleasure. Pleasure is not the same as true joy. Pleasure is fleeting. It does not last. True happiness, or joy, lasts forever. It does not leave you. The really good thing about true joy is that it can be found everywhere. Look around you. Is the house a mess ? Dishes to be done ? Do your children need your attention ? Your joy can be found in cleaning that mess, in washing those dishes, and in tending to the child(children) that God has placed in your care. It is an attitude of gratitude.
Joy is found in the little things that occur in our everyday lives, and in the not so little things. It can be found in our daily tasks, and even in our sufferings and trials as well. That’s right. Joy is found in suffering. For it is only when we accept and offer up our trials that they will become our joy. Our sufferings can become our joy when we unite them to the sufferings of Christ, and offer them up for His glory, for the salvation of souls, and for the reparation for sin. All too often, our sufferings are wasted due to the fact that we complain through the whole thing, without once stopping to thank God for allowing this suffering to occur. Yes, we should be grateful for our sufferings. For it is only through sufferings and trials that we can be united to Christ, Who suffered so much more for us. If Christ, Who is sinless, gave His life for us by suffering through such unimaginable tortures, then shouldn’t we, who are sinners, offer up our sufferings in return ? I believe that when we do this, our sufferings will become our joy.
Look at the little girl in the photo above. This is a photo of St. Therese’ as a child. She knew the joy of suffering. She suffered most of her life, yet never complained. She knew, from a young age, the value of suffering. If you do not know the story of St. Therese of Lisieux, I highly suggest you read her autobiography, “Story of a Soul” . I have provided a link below to the online version of the book.