Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Joy

All of the posts under the "Joy" category.

You Can’t Always Be Joyful

This is a follow-up to the Fallacy of Always Being Joyful. If you haven’t read it yet, I invite you to do so.

After spending much time in prayer and contemplation, I realized that there is, unfortunately, far more things to point out in regards to this fallacy of a Catholic always needing “joy” in order to be Catholic. Hopefully, this will be the last post, but, if the hierarchy continues to expound upon this fallacy, I will have to write more.

The idea that sorrow is somehow unholy, non-Catholic, and even bad is unheard of when you look at all of Christendom. There is no guarantee that once you become Catholic and are practicing the faith (though, if you aren’t practicing the faith then you aren’t Catholic) that you will become so full of joy as the world understands it.

Really, we are all dying, we are all sinners and are all deserving of eternal damnation. That isn’t a very joyous outlook on life is it? But, alas, it is true. It isn’t grim, it isn’t negative, but it is truth. Jesus warns us numerous times throughout the Gospel that the path to Heaven is narrow and few will enter, yet, the attitude of the day is that, if you are a Catholic, you will get an automatic pass, and this is from Church officials (though, if you aren’t Catholic that’s fine too!)

The sense of joy that we Catholics do receive, is that we recognize that we are at least on the right path and are following God as best as we are discerning. This isn’t a guarantee of salvation, but we at least recognize that in following God and His Church, we are at least on the right path, even if we are failing along the way. Ultimately though, when we have properly discerned what God is asking of us, we will experience the true sense of joy, that we as creations of God, are following what the Creator has Willed for us.

What interests me, is that the church (small c) has bought into the lie that the culture has been peddling that we have to be happy, in fact, we can’t be sad at all. If we are sad, then there is something wrong. We must be depressed, and there is a pill to cure that. No longer are we required to do penance, because its painful, inconvenient, and annoying. After all, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it, right?

There used to be for the first 1900 years of Catholicism, a sense that sorrow was good, especially when that sorrow was for atonement for our past sins. We should be sorrowful for the times that we have spat in the face of God, turned our back on Him, and gone about seeking our own pleasures. We do it quite often, more than we even consciously realize.

After all, the Church used to be so praiseworthy of sorrow, that even Our Mother Mary has a title of Our Lady of Sorrows!

Don't Cry Mary, You Should Be Joyful!

Don’t Cry Mary, You Should Be Joyful!

Every single Saint was sorrowful at some point in his or her life. To assume otherwise is naive. Look at St. Augustine in his Confessions. Many times he mentions that the thought of some of the sins of his life bring tears to his eyes. It would be wrong to assume that these are tears of joy, as to be joyful for ones sins would warrant unholiness as the sinner would be proud of his sin. This doesn’t work as we must be repentant of our sin from the time we have committed it, until the time that we are no longer on this Earth. This is why the argument “even though I’m sad that I did x, I’m glad I did it because otherwise I wouldn’t be where I’m at today” is a argument rooted in error. Be sorrowful for the action, and be sorrowful that you didn’t follow the Will of God to get to the point you are at today. God never Wills sin, but allows it in his permissive will.

Even Jesus Christ Himself was sorrowful. Let us not forget the 2nd set of mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the Sorrowful mysteries. This includes the mysteries of Jesus Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His flogging at the Pillar, the crowning of thorns, the carrying of the cross and alas, the moment of His Crucifixion and Death. If you forgot what this looked like, let alone what it might have felt like, here is a helpful reminder.

Jesus Crucified

This is not a joyful moment. This is a sorrowful moment. There is a time for joy, and a time for sorrow. Accept that joy and sorrow go hand in hand. After all, how can you appreciate the joyful moments if you have no sorrowful ones? How can you appreciate happiness, if you’ve never once gone through sadness?

 

Jeff March 26, 2014 2 Comments Permalink

The Fallacy of Always Being Joyful

I’ve noticed for quite some time that there is a new buzzword in the world of Catholicism. No, I’m not talking about the ‘New Evangelization’ here. I’m speaking specifically about the word ‘joy’.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with having joy or being in a state of joy. I consider myself to be joyful most of the time as I am always in the mood for a good joke and a fun time.

However, my concern is that all we talk about lately is that Christians have to have joy in order to be successful at Evangelization. As if that is a requirement for being a disciple of Jesus Christ as well as a Catholic in Good Standing. To me, we are overusing this word and making the word become a sappy and emotional feel-good term, as opposed to the true joy that Jesus refers to in the Gospels.

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. John 15:10-12

Jesus is clear here. If we follow the commandments that Jesus has laid down before us, as well as the Commandments that God our Father has given us, we will have the joy that Christ has and gives because we are in that state of grace.

Similarly, when Jesus is telling the disciples that He will be taken up and crucified and will no longer be with them, they are upset. He says to them:

Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. John 16:20-24

When you go out to run a race, you more than likely are not thinking or even feeling joy. As you are running, the pain in your legs and the lactic acid build up begins to ache and throb. More than likely, this is not a joyful experience. Many times you may feel the desire or the urge to quit, but you push through. Finally, after your continuing success, you see the finish line. Inspired by this sight, you begin to push harder and run faster. A joy begins to arise as you know you are almost done with your race. You push harder and harder until finally, you cross the finish line, puffing and panting and suddenly a rush of joy sweeps over you. This is authentic joy as Jesus hints at.

This is the type of joy we are to strive for as Catholics. We shouldn’t settle for the counterfeit joy of feeling emotional and good and giddy and happy. Being a disciple isn’t always a joyful experience. Jesus warns us that following Him means the world will hate us because it hated Him first.

He warns us that the Gates of Heaven are narrow, and the Gates of Hell are wide. He warns us that our family will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus even mentions that we are going to have to sacrifice. None of these things are joyful in themselves.

What makes them joyful in the Catholic sense of the word, is the fact that we are created to love and serve our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are to follow His will for us. When we follow His will, we may experience moments of joy, however, there are moments when we do not. The false dichotomy that we will experience joy can lead the person who follows this mentality to think that they are not following God’s will because they do not feel joy. There are many instances in which following God’s will, will in fact not feel or seem joyful.

The faithful who stands up for an end to abortion or in defense of traditional marriage may get fired from his job. There is joy in standing up for God, but the doubts and uncertainty of where the next paycheck will come will not be a joyful experience. Thankfully, God will provide to his faithful.

We have confused smiling and laughter with joy, which is thanks to our wonderful culture who either ignorantly or purposefully do this. If you Google Image St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Joseph or really, just about any Saint you can think of, you will find that they rarely are seen smiling. They are serious and stern, but the holiness radiates around them. Heck, look at the images of Our Lady in all of her different apparitions. Not many smiles.

St. Peter Doesn't Smile

St. Peter Doesn’t Smile

St. Joseph Hardly Smiles

St. Joseph Hardly Smiles

Pope St. Pius X Barely Smiles

Pope St. Pius X Barely Smiles

St. Paul Doesn't Smile

St. Paul Doesn’t Smile

I know some traditionalists would argue with me (and that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion), but I see nothing wrong with smiling. But putting an emphasis on smiling and being a good Catholic is a lie and doesn’t stand when looking at the history of the Catholic faith. Catholicism is based on intellect, not on emotion. Emotion plays a role from time to time, but the majority of the time it is logic and truth.

Life isn’t always joyful. For proof, look at the Rosary as given to us by Our Lady. We don’t have 3 sets of Joyful mysteries. We have a set of Joyful mysteries, a set of Sorrowful mysteries, and a set of Glorious mysteries (we also have a set of Luminous mysteries that were given to us by Blessed Pope John Paul II as a suggestion, so it is not required to pray these). The argument that we must be joyful at all times is a farce of an argument as even Jesus stated that we must be ready and stand watch for the thief that comes at night.

The next time you see someone who is devout in their faith, but seems “non-joyful” or even “angry” at something, before you jump to criticisms and accuse them as such, take a step back and look at the deeper under-linings of why they are such. It may just be that they are interiorly following Christ and are upset that others are not.

Read the follow-up post, You Can’t Always Be Joyful

Jeff February 27, 2014 3 Comments Permalink

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