Knowing we forget the vast majority of what we read, especially as more time goes by, we seek to put into practice with God’s Grace the most important elements of Union with the Trinity, which flow from our Baptism, Confirmation and the Grace of the other Sacraments and the Signal Graces God wills to send us now: the Joy of a dramatic increase in the three Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. These three virtues correspond to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and are designed by God to produce the repentance/conversion of our heart and our will such that we rejoice always! This Joy is a Gift and should then cause us to smile as much as possible and radiate our thanksgiving and love, because of the Joy of the Holy Spirit within us…the Love between the Father and the Son! Our subtle pride often causes us problems with others, especially when we seek to prove our opinion or to value it more highly than others. God instead wills that we submit ourselves as He did to the opinions of others, unless they are demonstrably false or evil, and to always seek the advice of a wise spiritual director when there is any disagreement among an established Group of Catholics working for the good of the Church.
Our Lord taught Elizabeth Kindelmann: “Be My servant! Be always joyful! Every day that you serve Me must be a feast!…Wherever you go, let others feel that you partake every day in the Heavenly Banquet!”
This is admittedly one of the hardest concepts for us to grasp and implement in our daily life until we obtain all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but especially the Gift of Wisdom. Obtaining the actual joy of God is the goal that our Lord has stated for us in John 15:11. So, how do we begin this process, this spiritual journey to the Fruit of Joy in the Holy Spirit!
The first step is to “put on the mind of Christ” by consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary and committing our entire life to the imitation of Christ by the imitation of the one who perfectly did so…His Mother and our Mother, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. The single greatest insight here is we must commit to give up all sinfulness and worldly interests which hold us back from advancing in holiness. Only the Holy Spirit can convict us of these unrepented sins and the sins to which we are currently blinded! The daily living of one’s Consecration is the perfect path to Joy, because as the great St. Louis de Montfort reminds us: “When the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He flies to it. He enters therein (in a more abundant and effective way to release the Grace of Baptism and Confirmation) and communicates Himself to that soul with such abundance ( since He is Joy).” The best source for living the Imitation of Christ each day, through and in Mary’s Immaculate Heart and under her Mantle, is the small, classic book by Fr. Emil Neubert called “My Ideal Jesus Son of Mary”. Obtain a copy and read from it every day for the rest of your life.
The second step is to be devoted to a deep, personal relationship with the Holy Spirit that includes intimate prayer to Him each day for all the Gifts, Virtues and Charisms, which produces the Fruits, especially the two foundational ones of Love and Joy! A perfect short prayer is : “Come Holy Spirit and possess me completely by the power of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Obtain a copy of “The Sanctifier” by the Servant of God Archbishop Luis Martinez or “Your Life in the Holy Spirit” by Alan Schreck. Read from them every day. They can be an excellent source of meditation every day, as mental prayer is a necessary element of advancing in our journey to possess the Joy of the Holy Spirit! Without daily mental prayer, we will not advance far at all.
The third step is the daily practice of the will. Joy is a choice we make with God’s Grace. It does not depend upon emotion nor does it require positive thoughts. We will often experience distaste and suffering, but The Lord teaches us to “Rejoice always, again I say Rejoice!” This choice must be based in our unshakeable Faith that every single thing that God causes or permits to happen to us is for our greater spiritual good; the conversion and salvation of our soul and the souls of many others; and our greater eternal reward and glory! If you are not completely convinced of this, pray for the Gifts of Knowledge and Understanding! Obtain a copy of the classic on this knowledge by Father de Caussade entitled: “Self Abandonment to Divine Providence”. Daily prayer to the Holy Spirit and the knowledge in this book can overcome this great impediment that almost all of us have in the Journey: not truly knowing and then believing with unshakeable Faith that everything that happens to us is caused or permitted by God for our greater spiritual glory of all eternity!
The final step is to smile as often as possible! The Carmelite Sister Mary Angelica of Jesus had this insight from the Holy Spirit for us: “The good Lord makes me find joy everywhere….I try always to smile, for I know that every smile contrary to our natural inclination is in wonderful harmony with the desires of the Heart of Jesus.”
So, what are we to do when we invariably fall in the Journey and start to experience fear, unease and discouragement and want to complain to others. St. Paul gives us the only answer: “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, through prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God.” We must immediately release our burdens of thought and our negative emotions to God and “cast our burdens” upon Him for direction. He will respond if we trust Him completely. In fact, He tells all the saints how sad He chooses to become when we don’t cast our burdens upon Him! This is what it practically means to “abide in Him”. The Lord wants to live His life again in you!
Our Lord confirmed this Truth to St. Faustina: “You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you treasures of My Grace…Oh how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness!.. Oh how that wounds My Heart!”
So, let us smile at everyone today and always, but especially at the Holy Spirit in our soul! Fiat!