The Key To Spiritual Joy

“Love Me, and you will be happy; and the more you love Me, the happier you will be! Even when you find yourself in utter darkness, love will produce light, love will produce strength, and love will produce joy!” – Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone

Before proceeding, it is necessary that we understand the following: joy, a fruit of love, can only be received (and cultivated) by the humble, as everything good we have is a gift from God. We are called to be saints first and foremost, and nothing less. LOVE “… is all our hearts were made for” (St. Therese); therefore:

We will never attain joy unless we love; we cannot love unless we first receive it; and we cannot receive God’s love unless we are HUMBLE.

If we are miserable, we should humbly ask God for the grace to see what is making us so. The small pamphlet, ‘Confession – A Little Book For the Reluctant’ by Msgr. Louis Gaston de Segur, is a very helpful resource for destroying many of the barriers to spiritual joy, such as pride, discouragement, intentionally withholding (serious) sins in Confession, doubting God’s mercy and goodness (which is “absolutely unlimited”), infrequent Confession, presumption etc. If you are scrupulous, lukewarm (or both), or a habitual sinner- whether or not your disposition stems from pride and/or ignorance- you should read this ‘book.’ A crucial element of humility is that we know the truth about sin. If we do not recognise its danger and gravity (most people do not, sadly… the saints surely did and they were full of humility, confidence, love and gratitude!), how will we appreciate just how merciful God truly is; or how foolish we are in delaying repentance; or giving up the battle for holiness; or acting in countless other ways that reek of pride, which is directly opposed to God’s nature, and which we should always seek to avoid far more than any bodily illness?! Fortunately, there is no need to despair. God’s goodness and mercy are without limit to those who (sincerely) repent! The greater the depths of darkness and error that He (alone) has drawn us from, the greater right we have to count on His unchanging goodness! How consoling is that! How can we not love such a God with all our hearts?

(The previous words were necessary in order to establish the fact of our great need for humility (which is linked to confidence)- the first link in the chain of love… “True humility consists in not presuming on our own strength, but in trusting to obtain all things from the power of God.” – St. Thomas Aquinas)

“SPIRITUAL JOY ARISES FROM PURITY OF THE HEART AND PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER.” – St. Francis of Assisi

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Some words, then, on purity:

“Purity is the fruit of prayer.” – Bl. Mother Teresa

“Nothing is so beautiful as a pure soul… Purity comes from heaven; we must ask for it from God. If we ask for it, we shall obtain it. We must take great care not to lose it. We must shut our heart against pride, against sensuality, and all the other passions, as one shuts the doors and windows that nobody may be able to get in. What joy it is to the guardian angel to conduct a pure soul!…The more pure we have been on earth, the nearer we shall be to Him in heaven…My children, we cannot comprehend the power that a pure soul has over the good God.” – St. John Vianney

“Holy Purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue, is a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like the angels of God in heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh.” – St. John Bosco

“Jesus more and more desires a throne of pure gold and this throne is your pure heart… Yes, Jesus wishes to make a palace in your heart.” – St. Therese

“With all the strength of my soul I urge you young people to approach the Communion table as often as you can. Feed on this bread of angels whence you will draw all the energy you need to fight inner battles. Because true happiness, dear friends, does not consist in the pleasures of the world or in earthly things, but in peace of conscience, which we have only if we are pure in heart and mind.” – Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (According to St. Philip Neri, for example, the Holy Eucharist is necessary strength in the battle for purity, which is necessary for communing with God! “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!”)

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 “If all My betrothed would love Me, I would pour Heaven into their hearts even while they still dwelt upon the earth, for Heaven is enjoyed by loving Me!” – Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone

“The more you love Me, the more you will become holy.” – Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone (“If you want to be happy, be holy. If you want to be very happy be very holy.” – St.Francis Xavier Seelos)

“Only that which is eternal can satisfy us.” – St. Therese

“Because I am Love, all Love, I cannot cease communicating to My creatures the joy of loving! The joy of sharing My happiness.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“The only happiness here below is to strive to be always content with what Jesus gives us.” – St. Therese

“Your joy is to strip yourselves and be dependent on Me alone. My joy is to be able to prove to you the prodigality of My love.” – Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

“When suffering is accepted with love, it is no longer suffering, but it is changed into joy.” – St. Therese

“If we want to enjoy interior peace, it is necessary to have one will and one desire: to love Jesus crucified, employing all our faculties and energies for this purpose.” – St. Francis de Sales

“I have united Myself so closely to thee, by the chains of My love, that I cannot live happily without thee.” – Jesus to St. Gertrude (Similarly, Jesus, in taking on a sinless human heart- the most tender of all hearts!- makes Himself in need of our love! He even yearns for our love and salvation! Bl. John Paul II calls this one of the GREAT mercies of God).

Some advice on growing in love: “Keep correcting some fault in yourself, but do not do this through coercion but through love…. Without doubt the Lord will supply what is missing to keep you close to Him, so long as for your part you love Him alone and seek to follow Him alone… As soon as you are conscious of being tempted, follow the example of children when they see a wolf or a bear out in the country. They immediately run to the arms of their father or mother, or at least call to them for help and protection. In the same way, turn to God and implore His mercy and help” – St. Francis de Sales

“In order to be Christian, our lives must be a continual renunciation and sacrifice. However, we know that the difficulties of this world are nothing compared to the eternal happiness that awaits us, where there will be no limit to our joy, no end to our happiness, and we shall enjoy unimaginable peace. And so, young people, learn from our Lord Jesus Christ the meaning of sacrifice.” – Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati

“Ah, if you understood! How happy each soul could be in My intimacy! That pettinesses that blind you would, of themselves, disappear in this ever-growing quest for Love…”

– Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

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