How do you get this "Christian joy"?

When I first became Christian 4 years ago (but not Catholic), I had very much joy, partly because I prayed for it, and partly because I was very happy that I finally found meaning and purpose through serving Jesus, and safety and security through the salvation that I thought Jesus gave me.

But then I became Catholic. And I learned that I actually have no assurance of salvation, and all I can do is hope for the best.

So, I don’t really see any reason for having “joy” anymore. At best, life is just full of falling and getting back up, sacrificing, giving up everything fun, or at least learning enjoying anything fun is a sign that you have an unhealthy attachment to creatures. Life is just pain and suffering – and when it’s not, it’s probably because the devil is drawing us away from God by the riches and pleasures of life (c.f. Matthew 13:22), like I see so many of my Catholic friends obsessed with the latest movies and films and books, and they admit that they seldom pray.

Where is this “joy” supposed to come from? What’s any good reason for it?

It’s not like we’ve experienced anything like Heaven. Every time I pray the Act of Contrition, I’m lying – I don’t “dread the loss of Heaven” because I have no idea what Heaven is like, and I can’t even imagine a state of being with that kind of joy in it.

Christ Jesus. And thus in prayer, the Sacraments, being mindful of the presence and love of God, Christian fellowship, meditating on the reality of being a Christian, working against impediments - sins etc.

Saint Paul tells us in Philippians -“Rejoice *in the Lord *”

Now does that mean we will always have a particular emotion? No. Or that one must always go about “skipping an humming a tune?” no…

Indeed the Joy of a Christian -that Joy of knowing Christ-- of being in Christ --of knowing his love …that he is with us in both joys and and sorrows – can as Pope Benedict XVI put it endures “even in trials, in suffering itself” not as something that remains on the surface but dwells in the depths. From our entrusting our selves to God - being sheep carried by the Good Shepherd…

and as Saint Peter tells us - let us cast our cares upon him…1 Peter 5:7

I think you’ve gotten the wrong idea on a few matters. Life isn’t just pain and suffering, but those are realities of life. There is no requirement to be dour, depressed, or suffering in life in order to achieve holiness. However these things are a part of life, and if you do offer them up to God, they can indeed help you toward holiness.

Many of the Saints were very joyful people. They were able to thoroughly enjoy God’s creation without and bizarre attachment to things that would destroy their ability to enjoy creation properly.

You can dread the loss of heaven even if you do not know exactly what it will be like. Even if you can only think of it as an end to your current sufferings in life, you would dread the loss of heaven. As one grows in relationship with God they appreciate more and more that loss of Heaven=loss of God, and that is truly dreadful.

+JMJ+

May I venture the idea that you are quite mistaken on what “Christian joy” is? You said,

but this is not joy, as far as I know and as far as I experience it.

God seems to take away those things that previously made you happy: meaning, security, purpose, safety, pride, fun, heck even salvation. Why? It is because He wants to be your sole source of joy. Christian joy is happiness in God.

Christian joy is wrapped in one word: Emmanuel. “God is with us.” Always! This is the whole secret of the joy of Christians: we learn, believe and know that God is with us, and from this, we rejoice.

You ought to feel safety and security in the salvation that Christ offers you! He’s never going to take it back, you know.

But what can happen is that *you *reject it. And that was true when you were Christian but not Catholic just as it is now.

But then I became Catholic. And I learned that I actually have no assurance of salvation, and all I can do is hope for the best.

So, I don’t really see any reason for having “joy” anymore. At best, life is just full of falling and getting back up, sacrificing, giving up everything fun, or at least learning enjoying anything fun is a sign that you have an unhealthy attachment to creatures. Life is just pain and suffering – and when it’s not, it’s probably because the devil is drawing us away from God by the riches and pleasures of life (c.f. Matthew 13:22), like I see so many of my Catholic friends obsessed with the latest movies and films and books, and they admit that they seldom pray.

Where is this “joy” supposed to come from? What’s any good reason for it?

It’s not like we’ve experienced anything like Heaven. Every time I pray the Act of Contrition, I’m lying – I don’t “dread the loss of Heaven” because I have no idea what Heaven is like, and I can’t even imagine a state of being with that kind of joy in it.

Remember how happy you were when you first met Christ? Heaven is like that only infinitely better because you will be in the presence of God.

How to find that joy? Pray and stay out of mortal sin. Several people have offered you a lot of good advice for doing this over the past few weeks. Take some of their advice :slight_smile:

I didn’t ask for your judgmental attitude or insults. So never mind, I take back my question if that’s all I’m going to get in return. But I should have known, I mean we are Christians after all, that’s kind of to be expected from us in all obviousness.

+JMJ+

Woah there! How did St Francis’ post become judgmental or insulting?

Joy isn’t an emotion. It’s a state of being, I guess. Joy goes beyond happiness. Joy is content, but also spontaneous. Sometimes, joy is even mournful.

Why are we joyful?! GOD IS AWESOME!!! GOD LOVES US!!! IF WE WANT TO, GOD CAN SAVE US!!! YAY GOD!!! LOOK AT THAT PRETTY FLOWER; GOD MADE THAT FOR ME, AND YOU, AND EVERYBODY! ITS SO BEAUTIFUL!!

I guess joy is a deep appreciation for everything beautiful in the world and out of this world with the lens of appreciation through God.

Joy isn’t attained by being saved, joy is what makes you be saved because that’s what makes you WANT to be saved. When you get more joyful and thankful to God, he gives you the strength, courage, and love for him to attain salvation. :D:D:D:D:D:D

So smile! God is with us! God is for us! God is in us!

+JMJ+

Couldn’t have said it better myself :thumbsup:

Try St. Ignatius of Loyola spirituality.

Tis not a “all I can do is hope for the best” that is not what we mean.

One can have yes a kind of moral certainty. The certainty of hope. Knowing Jesus Christ.

Yes of course one does not have absolute certainty …even Paul said he was not conscious of anything but was not for reason in the clear…for God is the judge…

We could walk away …for we have free will…and yes we do no know the future. We could deny Jesus (as Paul put if we deny him he will deny us…of course Jesus himself said this in the Gospels) or commit some other mortal sin and refuse the grace of repentance and die that way…tis possible.

However …as a Christian our hope is in Jesus Christ!

So by his grace I will continue to do as Paul and Jesus tells us…remain in him

And thus have the confident certainty of hope!

"These last words themselves are symptomatic: for Paul, in fact, it was not enough to say that Christians are baptized or believers; for him, it was just as important to say they are “in Christ Jesus” (cf. also Rom 8: 1, 2, 39; 12: 5; 16: 3, 7, 10; I Cor 1: 2, 3 etc.).

At other times he inverted the words and wrote: “Christ is in us/you” (Rom 8: 10; II Cor 13: 5) or “in me” (Gal 2: 20)."…

"Moreover, our radical belonging to Christ and the fact that “we are in him” must imbue in us an attitude of total trust and immense joy. In short, we must indeed exclaim with St Paul: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8: 31). And the reply is that nothing and no one “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8: 39). Our Christian life, therefore, stands on the soundest and safest rock one can imagine. And from it we draw all our energy, precisely as the Apostle wrote: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4: 13).

Therefore, let us face our life with its joys and sorrows supported by these great sentiments that Paul offers to us. By having an experience of them we will realize how true are the words the Apostle himself wrote: “I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me”; in other words, until the Day (II Tm 1: 12) of our definitive meeting with Christ the Judge, Saviour of the world and our Saviour."

~ Pope Benedict XVI Wed. Audience Wednesday, 8 November 2006

vatican.va

That joy though does not always effect our emotions…but can yes exist even in the midst of the sufferings we encounter at times. It is from the reality of knowing him. Jesus of Nazareth - of being in him.

What I wrote was not *“all” *that you get in answer to yoru question; the half of my reply you object to is a small part of the answers you received from this one post alone. Show some gratitude to those whose posts are *not *“judgemental and insulting”!

Bit remember too that my post is not judgemental or insulting. You will not recover joy in Christ until you take the step of resisting temptation.

Hmmm… define fun!
Actually, your odds of getting to Heaven increased by 33% when you became Catholic, while other methods put you at 50/50. Purgatory allows you to work through some sins that would have taken you to hell otherwise.

I never bought the Protestant line that all you had to due was believe Jesus was your savior, and then silently ask for forgiveness after a week of debauchery. Too easy. If it is too good to be true then…

Being Catholic has brought me a measure of peace and joy I have never felt anywhere else. In bad times, it is my life raft in a sea of misery. In good times, it is the beach umbrella blocking the sun’s damaging rays, allowing me to freely contemplate the Ocean that is God and his works.

Sure there is accountability, but it is that very accountability that keeps my life sane. Children crave stability and structure, because they know it comes from someone out of love. Adults are no different. We need that same love and accountability in order to thrive.

Confidence, love and humility.

“The greatest joy which it is possible to taste on earth is to possess God, God alone. Then one delights in an anticipated Paradise. And *little souls *do taste this…” - Sr. Consolata Betrone

The problem is, we are fallen creatures: we lack faith; we are proud; we have disordered inclinations; we have little savour for the things that are truly good for us, such as humiliations, prayer and sufferings; we do not understand that everything God gives or permits is for our greatest good, namely, that we unite ourselves to Him ever more intimately by charity.

Frequent prayer, then, is essential. Confident, humble and persevering prayer obtains an abundance of grace, which perfects our nature, kindles in us the flame of divine love, helps us to know ourselves, and reveals the baseness of earthly pleasures. In a word, prayer helps us to love what God loves, and to depsise what He despises. Consider the example of the saints in suffering, which is so repugant to our lower nature:

St. Gemma: “To suffer in union with Thee is a happiness.”

:Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity: “My happiness increases in proportion to my sufferings. If you knew what sweetness is found at the bottom of the chalice prepared by our heavenly Father!”

Bl. Marie–Madeleine Postel: “When we truly love, we have nothing to suffer, because we find so much happiness in suffering for our Beloved.”

St. Therese of the Child Jesus: “… every suffering is a delight to me.” (She admits, however, that this was not always the case)

Like St. Therese and Sr. Consolata, we must be like little children or “little souls” with God; we must abandon ourselves to Him without reserve, thanking Him for every grace - even if comes at the cost of suffering - knowing that He only desires what is best for us, and that, although without Him we can do nothing, with Him we can do all things.

If we have frequent recourse to prayer, we will be saved. We cannot be certain that we will persevere, but the reason lies solely with us: our lack of generosity, our pride, our distrust. We must place all our confidence, then, in Almighty God, Who loves us with an eternal love, and desires our salvation so much that He sacrificed His infinitely perfect and lovable Son for our salvation. Surely we can place all our trust in Him! If we trust in ourselves, says St. Bernard, “we have a fool for our guide,” and we will inevitably fall into sin, for “pride is the beginning of sin.” (Eccl. 10:13).

Here is a beautiful little anecdote from Rev. Auguste Saudreau: "Frances of the Mother of God was for some days preyed upon by a great fear of being deceived by the devil. She imagined that she deserved damnation. Upon which Our Lord said to her: ‘God so loved the world as to give His only–begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish but may have life everlasting (John 3:16). If you believe in Me, you ought to believe that you will be saved.’ "

“If one holds fast to it [prayer] perseveringly, he can never be lost.” (St. John Chrysostom). “He who keeps constant hold of the staff of prayer will not stumble. And even if he does, his fall will not be fatal.” (St. John Climacus).

*Let thy loving-kindness, O Jehovah, be upon us, according as we have hoped in thee. *(Psalm 33:22)

The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (speaking of those who live by and for God’s will): “Even in her mortal life she tastes the delights of immortality.”

Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida: “Love Me as I have loved you… Love Me in suffering and in sacrifice out of love. Love Me for I am God and solely to please Me. It is toward this love I aspire, the love I desire. Happy the soul possessing it…I promise that on this earth, that soul will begin to taste of the delights of Heaven."

A final word from Sr. Consolata Betrone: “The more I am faithful to this little way of love, the more is my soul flooded with joy and true peace that nothing is able to disturb, not even my continual falls. For, when I bring these to Jesus, He makes me remedy them through acts of humility, and these in turn increase the peace and joy in my heart.”

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