Monday, April 30, 2012

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit-First Hymn of Virtue: Joy

First Hymn of Virtue: JOY

There is a beautiful hymn that I'm sure is familiar to most of you: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

The title of this hymn seems to sum up the one truth that our soul is longing and yearning for true joy that can only be found in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, the world will tell us differently. The world spreads the illusion that we will find joy in created things and glorifying our self. But for those of us who try to live the life of prayer, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the illusions of the world. The authentic life of prayer inspires us to perform acts of charity, to somehow, in some way, with our whole being, express our love for God and neighbor.

Why do we refer to the fruits as virtues?
The fruits are any virtuous deeds in which one delights.
St. Thomas Aquinas

Let's listen to Fr. Tanquerey in his work The Spiritual Life describe this holy process of performing virtuous deeds:
When a soul corresponds faithfully to the actual graces which set in motion the virtues and the gifts, it performs acts of virtue, at first imperfectly and with difficulty, then more perfectly and with greater relish, so that the heart is filled with holy joy.

Mary's hymn of joy: The Magnificat.

True joy, that we participate in with the Holy Spirit, flows from the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Someday, when you think of it and you are praying before a crucifix, pray the Magnificat. If you are a brave soul, sing the Magnificat. It's a glorious song of salvation joy! We can picture Mary at the foot of the Cross, her whole being stilled by sorrow and grief, yet her Magnificat was not a one-time event. Her hymn is sung throughout time and eternity because of her yes and because of Our Lord's yes to the Father to accept the Cross. We find perfect joy when we are in union with the Will of the Father. As Christians, our joy stems from our hope in Jesus Christ, who has opened the gates of holiness to each of us who accept him and strive to do his will.

A Carmelite who experienced true interior joy of soul was St.Teresa of the Andes. Her individual charism was "God is my joy!"

I am the happiest person on earth. I desire nothing more because my entire being has been seized by God who is Love. It is a joy that communicates itself, that offers itself, that communicates joy. Oh, if for just one instant, you could feel yourself filled with the happiness I feel! (Letters, n. 96)

We can read what depth of Joy wrought by the Holy Spirit she experienced. A joy so deep that it overflowed into her "feelings" (senses).

St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes experienced this joy that stemmed from her desire to live always at the heights of Calvary. She said she must remain there "every moment of my crucified life" (Letters, n. 89).

The Church's Hymn of Joy: The Life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

We are singing the first stanza, if you will, in the Church's hymn of joy: the birth of our Lord.
Our Lady's fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of her womb, the holy Christ Child is the Father's precious gift to mankind. May we echo the Church's hymn of joy this Christmas season as we welcome the Christ child into our heart.

We know that pure joy is not a feeling. It is a state of being. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that keeps on giving. For if it is an authentic gift in us, it will be contagious and spread like a holy fire among those we come in contact with. Let us pray that we give the Holy Spirit full reign to sing a hymn of joy in our soul.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

1 comment:

Julia said...

St. Teresa of The Andes is one of my favorites and who introduced me to Carmel!

God Bless and Merry Christmas!