"Throw back the shoulders, let the heart sing, let the eyes flash, let the mind be lifted up, look upward and say to yourself... Nothing is impossible!" -- Norman Vincent Peale
Even though it’s Lent and we may be thinking of pain, sorrow, of giving up instead of getting, let’s not get mired down in the mud of fasting and ashes. What Lent truly is about is learning to look at the JOY in our lives.
What our fasting can do for us is clean out our spirits, make room once again for the JOY that God has given us to live. We get so bogged down by the day to day struggles, making ends meet, working the job, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, our friends, parents, our Church, that our Joy is depleted and we forget to fill it up again.
During Lent, maybe what we need is not to concentrate so much on fasting as drudgery again, but as a clean up of sorts. Just like when you finally had enough of the dust bunnies, the finger prints in the dust around on the shelves, that dirty spot on the kitchen floor we still haven’t cleaned up, JOY during Lent can enliven our hearts again, lift us up above all the day to day making do.
Joy, Joy, JOY!!! It’s a word that is so encouraging. The mere mention of the word joy cannot be taken in any other way than to celebrate the fact that God loves YOU! And your heart wells up inside because none of your other problems matter. All that spiritual dryness we experience in life can be refreshed again if we truly look at the joy in our lives.
So what if your job is horrible right now, your friends or co-workers are crabby. They can’t steal your JOY!
“Joy always springs from a certain outlook on man and on God. “When your eye is sound, your body too is filled with Light. The vocation to happiness always passes through the channels of knowledge and love, of contemplation and action. This attainment of such an outlook is not just a matter of psychology. It is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had joy because the Spirit who dwelt fully in him made his earthly life so alert to the joys of daily life, so tactful and persuasive for putting sinners back on the road to a new youth of heart and mind. It is the same Spirit who animated the blessed Virgin and each of the saints. It is the Spirit of Pentecost who leads those living today to be followers of Christ.” (excerpt from Gaudete in Domino Pope Paul VI – 1975)
So live your JOY! Clean out your heart this Lenten season. Let your joy bubble up in you! Look at the day and see how you can let your light shine!