Monday, January 7, 2019
Paul writes …“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7
“Rejoice” is one of those concepts that we all understand but yet when we try to detail what it means, we struggle. Here Paul uses the verb “to rejoice” as a command, to rejoice out of an intention, to rejoice as an act of the will. “Rejoice!”
To rejoice as a natural response to a joyful feeling seems quite natural, but to rejoice as a deliberate act that seems rather unnatural, even contrived. What does it mean to go about the act of rejoicing? I have come to believe it is somewhat like pumping water using one of those old-fashioned hand pumps. You willfully pour a cup of water into the pump to prime the pump, then you exert one’s own power to draw forth water from a deeper reservoir of water. To rejoice is the act of drawing forth joy from that deeper reservoir of joy within the heart of the Christian.
I have learned that the mere act of focusing on those experiences where I was joyful draws forth the joy within me. Now in this contemplative life I live, I have certain people, certain places, certain images that I use to prime the pump of my soul. And as I focus more and more on the joyful, the rejoicing comes to life.
What is rejoicing? Rejoicing is letting your joy to be made visible, to bring it to the surface. I am one who is far more comfortable and is more authentic with rejoicing with a smile or a measure of laughter than with the raising of hands or dancing. I suppose my rejoicing is of a gentler, quieter kind … not one contrived or forced.
I am one who bundles together joy and love, thus to embrace another’s soul is, for me, the common expression of “rejoicing”. So do not feel pressured to “rejoice” in the manner of those around you … rather “rejoice” in ways most authentic for you.
So, Loved Ones, I join Paul in encouraging you all … Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz