Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Live JOYfully

Perhaps you've seen this acronym for the word joy (Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third).  Perhaps you've considered it to be "nice," but given little thought towards applying it to your own life.  Perhaps you are weighed down by the stress, thefrustration, the anxiety of daily life and see these next 40 days of Lenten penance as more of a burden.

Perhaps it is time to rejuvenate.

My word for 2014 is walk.  Physically, this has been a breeze -- I walk all the time: to class (I am anticipating my May 2014 college graduation), to my car, around the block, through the neighborhoods surrounding mine, and even occasionally to daily Mass.  Emotionally, however, this has proved to be quite the marathon (opposite of a marathon?) and I'm realizing just how out-of-shape (too-in-shape?) I have been.

Remembering Jesus first is sometimes what gets me out of bed in time for morning Mass when I acknowledge that he deserves this time with me and, honestly, the day is so much more beautiful having had received Him first.  Or, on the days when an event conflicts with morning Mass, it helps me remember why it is I love going to Mass so and will motivate me to go to the Holy Sacrifice after a long day of classfollowedbyworkanddrivingeverywherebetween (that is how it feels some days).  It is always what helps me keep perspective and remember that this life... it's not all about me.

Remembering others second reminds me to put my own wants and desires aside, smile, and cheerfully seek the Face of Christ in the beautiful people around me.  Each person whose presence God graces me with is unique and beautiful, unrepeatable and precious in God's eyes... And that realization completely changes my interaction with them.  Countless times, slowing myself down (mentally, physically) has lead to my noticing a twinkle in an eye or a glow in a smile and being completely blown away by God's love reaching me through this, perhaps unknowing, individual.

Remembering myself last is humbling, indeed, but what joy it brings me when I am able to rise above myself and do all for God's glory alone!  Even something as simple as putting away the clean dishes in the dishwasher, picking up a sock from the floor, emptying trashcans, vacuuming the floor, etc. - all of these simplest actions can merit great fruit when done out of love for God!

Perhaps it sounds idealistic or altogether too good to be true, but Saints have proven time and again that a JOYful life makes sanctity attainable to even the littlest soul.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux writes, "Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be - and becoming that person."  Rarely do I consistently follow this method through an entire day - human nature is not so persevering and oftentimes fatigue presents a roadblock along the path of the virtuous life - but still I continue to strive toward a JOYful life now so that when the trying moments in everyday life arrive, these roots have already been planted and dug deep to help me to weather life's storms.

My challenge this Lent is to apply this method (which is simply St. Thérèse's Little Way in its most basic form) to everyday life.  1 Corinthians 13 explains what love is; a great deal of love, I think, is needed to walk through these penitential days so that we can experience the fullness of Love at the Resurrection on Easter morn.

4 comments:

  1. Wonderful reflection to go into Lent with!

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  2. Hi YCW. I enjoyed reading this blog. This year I have chosen the word joy as my word for 2014. I had not heard of the acronym for joy before. I believe it is the perfect word for me this year. I prayed to Jesus, Mary and my Guardian Angel to help me pick my word. I had recently watched the movie "About Time" before I chose my word. The message of the move was to find joy in everything you do. I also really liked what St. Therese of Lisieux wrote. Thank you for sharing. I only came across your blog a few days ago and I have enjoyed reading a few of them.
    Best wishes,
    Gemma

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    1. Hi Gemma! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I am not familiar with the movie you mentioned, but it sounds so good! God bless you as you continue your walk with Christ along the path to discovering true joy.

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  3. It is hard to be JOYful in our world full of distractions, but, as you have pointed out, we all must try our best to become JOYful and holy. I liked where you talked about seeing God in others, even in just the twinkle of their eyes and all of the small things that make up everyday life :) God Bless.

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