This is a guest post by Fr. Eric Werts.
I have been thinking a lot about our relationship with God bringing joy. I have had a very bad week. In my pain I found it difficult to experience joy in the presence of God. However, during the times I was aware of God’s presence, my pain eased. Even when we are suffering God gives us much to be joyful about. In prayer we must let God fill us with joy.
The path to joy is praise and thanksgiving. We praise God for being God and all that God is and does. We thank God for creation, for loving creation of each of us and our loved ones, for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, for the coming of the Holy Spirit, for eternal life, and for so much more. We can do this with shouts, with song, with our arms and hands, with our legs and feet. Or we can be joyful deep within the silence of our hearts. We can be filled with joy with the help of inspiring books or videos. God will fill our whole beings with joy if we surrender ourselves and let God lead us.
We let our emotions go when our team scores, when we see a beloved friend or relative after a long separation, when we have a particular success at work, or when our child achieves something that makes us proud. Why then would we not be filled with joy in our whole being when we experience the astounding love that God has for us?