The Saving Fountain of Joy

Fountain of Joy - (Photo by Slunia)

Fountain of Joy – (Photo by Slunia)

(Besides being a bit under the weather the last few weeks, I have been a bit overwhelmed. Our Janet Klasson, better known as Pelianito, very kindly sent me this to use as a guest column while I finish sorting a few things out. It is a wonderful and worthy meditation for these times – indispensable to girding our loins for the year before us.- CJ)

Guest Column

By Pelianito

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3) 

Global tensions are on a seemingly exponential uptick—the Storm is upon us. In spite of this, the critical importance of joy has been coming to me again and again. The above Scripture passage can be read in two ways, a passive way and an active way. The passive way implies that joy is what we are filled with after we are saved. Very true. But the active reading of this passage tells us that joy can also be the “bucket” we can use to draw water from the wells of salvation. Joy therefore becomes an instrument of salvation in the hand of the Christian.

Think about it: a dour Christian makes a crummy witness, but a joyful Christian is a powerful sign to others that no matter the circumstances of our earthly lives, our hope is in something infinitely greater. But more than that, Christian joy has its own power to transform the hearts and the lives of those who cultivate it—as well as those around them.

But this must be done appropriately. As the days darken, as the sufferings of the current trial intensifies, it would be insensitive in the extreme to just say, “Chin up! Things will be better tomorrow. This too shall pass.” We are no mere optimists. We are filled with joy because a life lived for God gives meaning to everything—the good and the bad. In all circumstances we believe that God is, that He loves us, that He redeemed us, that when this life is over He will take us to himself. We know that God can use everything we give him, our joys and sorrows, our strengths and weakness, our consolations and our sufferings. In Him nothing is wasted.

Suffering in this “Valley of Tears” is normal, a consequence of our fallen nature. Sometimes we are given consolations, earthly joy, and for those times we are appropriately grateful. But we are foolish if we mistake those consolations for heaven. They are a pale imitation, a limited foreshadowing. No, we don’t get heaven here, but we can bring heaven to earth—for ourselves and others—through our selfless acts and attitudes. And this too is cause for rejoicing.

St. Paul told the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” (Ph 4:4) He did not say to rejoice in the Lord sometimes. He said always. Rejoicing always is a form of gratitude that goes beyond the secular ideal of living a life of gratitude. Rejoicing always means that you have a wellspring of hope that no earthly circumstance can drain. Even your suffering has an edge of anticipation to it. “Yes, I am suffering now, but this is not all there is. God has given meaning to my suffering. I am on the cross, with Christ. I know and trust that God will use my suffering to accomplish something far more wonderful than anything I could possibly imagine. I believe that in Christ every crucifixion is followed by a glorious resurrection. Jesus I trust in you! Use me as you wish to accomplish your designs upon the world.”

This does not mean that we should not pray to be delivered from suffering, but that if we are not delivered, we can rejoice knowing that God has a divine plan and that he will bear the burden with us, heaping on us grace upon grace so that we will not be crushed by the burden.

This also does not mean that we have to enjoy the suffering. Jesus and Mary did not enjoy the crucifixion, but they rejoiced in it, knowing that the glory of God to be revealed would far exceed the dear cost. They gave it their “Fiat!” and in that word, God’s glory was spectacularly revealed. Our “Fiat” too has immense power. It is a profession of trust in the divine plan, of hope in things unseen and unimagined. This joy fills us with grace and strength. “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)

We are in the beginnings of what will certainly be a tumultuous year ahead. One of the most important ways to prepare for uncertainty is to cultivate holy joy—a joy that is rooted in trust and abandonment to the perfect will of God. We know that God has a plan. While he rarely divulges the details to us, we can trust that he always has one, and that the victory is always his. He asks only that we trust him and that we remain faithful to the end, like the Blessed Mother, John and the women at the foot of the cross.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jer 29:11) The future of hope, my friends is not referring to this life, but to an eternity of joy and peace undreamed of in this life. That is the source of our joy.

“But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you.” (1 Pt 2:14-15)

God is. God loves us. Christ redeemed us, and when this life is over He will take us to himself. Jesus is our hope. Rejoice and be glad!

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Conversion, Guest Columns, Spiritual Preparation, The Storm and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Saving Fountain of Joy

  1. audiemarie2014 says:

    Thank you so much for this encouragement, Janet! It is timely and answered my question of how I can find joy. There is suffering in my own neighborhood in the form of serious illness and if I help in even small ways, it gets me out of my own head. There is joy in that. Whenever I trust that God has this, consolations come. I think He’s prepping me for what is to come. It’s downright exciting to think how big the joy will be in heaven and I want to help to bring as many possible with me. Charlie, I am praying for you. You too, Janet. Thank God that He has given us you two and Mark Mallett to guide through the storm. I pray I keep the faith as long as I’m here on earth.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Bob says:

    check out Mark Mallett. he had another good one yesterday as he always does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Observer says:

      Yes, and a friend sent me at the same time what she called “an oldie but goodie” of Mark’s. I read it again and saw just how real it is becoming now 5 years later. It’s a very good “watch word” to digest in seriousness for the now very near future happenings:

      “The Coming Counterfeit”:

      http://www.markmallett.com/blog/the-coming-counterfeit/

      Why there will be no other refuges but the hearts of Jesus and Mary since there will be so much deception and desperate people will be tempted to follow what they would never believe in “normal” times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Anne says:

    I’m reading this again. And then I’m printing it so I have hard copy to read again and again. This speaks directly to me. Thank you Pelianito.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you. I loved this:
    This does not mean that we should not pray to be delivered from suffering, but that if we are not delivered, we can rejoice knowing that God has a divine plan and that he will bear the burden with us, heaping on us grace upon grace so that we will not be crushed by the burden.

    This also does not mean that we have to enjoy the suffering. Jesus and Mary did not enjoy the crucifixion, but they rejoiced in it, knowing that the glory of God to be revealed would far exceed the dear cost. They gave it their “Fiat!” and in that word, God’s glory was spectacularly revealed. Our “Fiat” too has immense power. It is a profession of trust in the divine plan, of hope in things unseen and unimagined. This joy fills us with grace and strength. “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)

    Brilliantl. God bless you and Happy Epiphany!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. CrewDog says:

    Another good read from Msgr Pope that applies to All of the Above!:
    “Overcoming Life’s Storms: A Teaching From St. Paul to Some Storm-weary Souls”
    By: Msgr. Charles Pope
    http://blog.adw.org/2015/01/overcoming-lifes-storms-a-teaching-from-st-paul-to-some-storm-weary-souls/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mary N says:

    A beautiful and uplifting post, Janet. It was a reminder to me that outward circumstances don’t negate that inner joy we carry as Christians. Especially when we remember that we carry Love Himself with us at all times!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yes, well, I wrote it as a reminder to myself not to let circumstances rob me of my joy. Glad it speaks to all of you too! God is good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ann says:

      Before Christmas I was in such a dark mood–couldn’t shake it–as if a cloud had settled over me and robbed me of Christmas joy. Finally, in a kind of desperation, I just started singing Christmas carols, one after the other, Joy to the World, Adeste Fidelis and so on. Over and over out loud to myself–at home when alone, in the car, wherever I could do it without hurting someone’s ear drums :-). And thanking God for Christmas, for the Holy Family, for the magic and beauty of the season even though I was seemingly cut off from it. I just willed myself to do it. (God’s grace at work for sure) And then it happened–a great shaft of light–joy. Your column Janet explains this so well–Like a good surgeon delivering a diagnosis. Truly the joy of the Lord is our strength. And it’s not feel good, smile stuff–it’s certainty that God is indeed the One Who holds my life and that God is Good! And all t hings work toward good for those who love Him.

      Like

  8. The Magi visited the Holy Family and left presents with them. Those presents were from Divine Providence because their flight to Egypt followed shortly after and I am sure those funds were essential for their survival in a foreign land. I find in that a great lesson. We will be provided with whatever we need to survive the storm. “Fear not little flock” is a good thing to remember, those who are destined to be the seed of the Kingdom are going to be preserved for “it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” What a great mystery!
    Get well soon, Charlie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ann says:

      Beautiful, Carlos. So true. God does provide. Always. Even though sometimes it’s just the second before the problem explodes. His timing is always perfect.

      Like

  9. Mary W. says:

    A fountain of gratitude to you Janet for this up-lifting meditation. Yes, God is good in giving us each other. Just knowing we are not alone gives great solace and joy.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Rose says:

    Beautiful, Janet! Am also printing this off to reread until it is firmly rooted in my heart. Thank you for this very much wanted reminder of our purpose in this world…especially at this time.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Chris says:

    I love this Janet. I often let circumstances rob me of my joy. In fact this morning my friend and I were discussing all that is happening now in the world, our everyday suffering in our personal lives and how redemptive suffering gives glory to God. Seems like the piece you wrote finished our conversation on how to have joy in the suffering. God is good. Hope you feel better Charlie.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. donna269 says:

    Janet,
    Thank you so much for this reminder of joy in all things….I am reading Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place….such lessons. She and her sister Betsy were living examples of this….we must remember to bring people to Christ with joy, no matter what….

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Momof6g4b says:

    Thanks for a great post Janet. I can echo everyone else’s comments, including printing this out to read over and over as a reminder of what we are called to. I tend towards depression and worry by nature, wanting things to be perfect I am constantly disappointed. This Advent I encouraged my family to work on living heaven now. We can bring heaven to our families by living our Faith in real, day to day ways. It is good practice for learning to love our neighbors outside of our family. Living joy is a real, practical way to bring heaven to our families and neighbors. Much needed in my heart and my home. Thanks for the clear teaching and encouragement.
    God bless you.
    Laura

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Live heaven now…I love that, Laura.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Momof… I too need the reminder to live joy. There is a stressful situation in my life right now. I have decided that instead of focusing on that I will enjoy each moment as I am able. Cook lovely meals. Drink tea out of my china cups. Play silly games with loved ones. I find if I ACT joyful, I become joyful. And the darker things get, the more attractive that will be to others. One can be joyful without being insensitive even in a dire situation. St. Philip Neri and St. Lawrence–lead us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • E. Allison says:

        Janet, thank you for that. If you act joyful, you will become joyful. I have long believed, and expressed something similar. That people often confuse joy and happiness to be synonymous. They are not. Joy is an emotion, while happiness is a decision. It’s one that we make every day as our feet hit the floor in the morning. Happiness is being positive instead of negative; looking for the good in people instead of the bad; not letting others ruin your mood. Happiness often leads to joy.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Friends I have found a treasure I forgot I had! Here is a pdf version of a novena of surrender by Don (Fr) Dolindo Ruotolo: http://pelianito.stblogs.com/files/2010/08/Novena-of-surrender-to-the-will-of-God.pdf

    One sure way to live in joy is to live in total abandonment to the will of God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ann says:

      Janet, thank you!!! I had printed this off back some years ago when you posted it and had it, prayed it, and then lost it and now at the time I most need it, it’s here again. Just printed it off, and will also print off this meditation you blessed us with–many many thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. MMBev says:

    Most people in the world want “happy’. Happy is a by-product, usually of helping someone else, or happens when we accomplish a piece of work (dishes to creative art).

    Joy is when we are living in the present moment with God. Physical and or emotional suffering is not incompatible with joy. But there can be times in our lives when the agony we are suffering blocks out any possibility of joy. Frankly, it blots out anything except the agony. Fortunately, God placed us in the river of time, and it’s passage can lead us back into where joy returns again.

    Janet, does this mean that I can never look like “Grumpy Cat” again? Are you saying that this is not conducive to drawing people to see God’s light? Well, maybe I can see your point. But I think “Grumpy Cat” is really cute. (I have to confess, even when I don’t look like Grumpy Cat I don’t look cute – rats.)

    Like

    • MMBev, we all look like Grumpy Cat sometimes! LOL As always we strive for the ideal, and let God make up the difference. Trying our best is always good enough for him. Jesus we trust in you!

      Like

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