How wonderful it would be to always be at peace and full of joy. Joy that is unshakeable and unstoppable despite what goes on around us in this world and how people treat us. Happiness is emotional. It is Just like the waves in the sea that can be tiny ripples one day and then huge waves the next. It comes and goes depending on what happens to us and how we feel.
But true joy is different. Once discovered it is there, always unchanging and always the same. We all have opportunities everyday to get upset, to go around frustrated. “Can’t find my car keys! Traffic is backed up! Got that dreaded Council tax reminder again! Whose knocking at my door? Better not answer it in case its the bailiffs or someone to cut off my gas supply!”
Have all that happen to you and yet be full of joy? How is this possible?
Well the answer lies in the wisdom of the Saints. That is why a large portion of this site will be devoted to the Saints, especially St Gemma who has inspired me to write this website. So what is this wisdom?
People in this world weary themselves to find peace. They believe that winning the lottery, getting promotion at work, winning that lawsuit or obtaining wealth by some other means will give them peace. No the world with all its riches cannot satisfy the heart of man, because man was not created for these riches, but for God alone.
Let us consider the pleasures of the world that riches can buy. You may have all the expensive jewellery. You may live in a mansion, drive a Lamborgini and have all the material things of this earth. But you must remember that they will not give you true peace. The world is full of problems. Your car could get vandalised, your house broken into, your spouse even cheat on you. You may discover you have some disease that money can not cure.
If we only look to the things of this world and then should something bad happen that opposes us we will become restless and not at peace. Finding out that someone has scratched your car may cause you to become furious and angry…
…like a dog that is mad!
On the other end of the scale you could be living in absolute poverty. Dragging a shopping cart around filled with newspapers and plastic bags. Worrying about how to stay warm, when your next meal is coming and where to sleep safe. If somebody were to give you £5.00 that would make you happy – but for how long? Even if someone were to give you £50 or even £500 that won’t last you forever.
Whatever circumstances you are in you cannot rely on the world to give you true peace and joy.
When things go wrong with those who love God, they resign themselves to the will of God, and therefore there is no need for them to quiet themselves. This is because they have detached themselves from the things of this world. They have their hearts and minds set only on God and the things of eternal life and so remain at peace.
On the eve of His crucifixion, while still in the upper room Jesus said to his disciples that He shall send The Holy Spirit.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” – John 14:15-17
As soon as you have given your life to Jesus the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside you. Once you are filled with the Holy Spirit and continue to believe in Jesus the Holy Spirit will start to change your life. This we cannot do on our own, but over time we will gradually find that our character starts to change. Invisible evil forces no longer have a hold over us for we are protected from all evil.
We are Gods children and the Holy Spirit slowly starts to build into our lives love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Rather than trying to be loving, patient and kind God asks us to rely on Him to produce these qualities in our lives.
This is the way to true peace and joy that is forever with us and never changing. These are the qualities of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Saints knew this and adopted these qualities to make themselves like Christ. In return they received the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. They used these gifts to carry out Gods will, for life on this earth is a period of work and spiritual development. Death means the end of all labours. Death is the gateway to paradise, an eternal reward for fulfilling Gods will.
Death should not be regarded with terror and dread. It should be regarded as a happy occasion. It means the end of all labours and trials and going to be with our Lord forever. Going to an eternal repose. Rest in Peace.
This is the wisdom of the Saints!
So what is true Joy? Joy is accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Joy is coming to Jesus as you are, despite your circumstances, and learning that you are fully forgiven and have eternal life in paradise. Joy is something you experience when you are being persecuted or when people throw all kinds of insults at you. For you have become detached from the things of this world and have your heart set on eternal life in heaven. You are no longer a slave to this world but are a child of the most High God.