Thursday, May 29, 2008

True Joy

"Forbid it, O Lord, put it far from the heart of Thy servant, who confesses to Thee--far be it from me to think I am happy because of any and all the joy I have. For there is a joy not granted to the wicked but only to those who worship Thee thankfully--and this joy Thou Thyself art. The happy life is this--to rejoice to Thee, in Thee, and for Thee. This it is and there is no other." ~ Augustine, Confessions, Book 10 Chapter 22 (emphasis mine)

If you have not read Augustine, you should. Confessions is a great place to start. It is the nostalgic confession of God's glory from an old, mature Christian looking back on his life. He sees himself as the prodigal son coming home and it is a beautiful description of a man who tried it all finding that his greatest joy is Christ.

We are created for by Him, through Him, and to Him. What other joy could be greater than Him? When one has a purpose and it is written on one's soul one cannot find true happiness until one starts living for that purpose. Sure we can find pseudo-joys that last for a short time, but they are not true joys that inspire the soul and overflow the heart. We can keep busy to keep our minds off of this, but sooner or later life will slow down, we will be forced to reflect, and the comfort of all these other pseudo-joys will leave us because they cannot truly stimulate the soul. They are not Him. We cannot be satisfied by these pseudo-joys but we are often fooled into thinking we can. That is Augustine's prayer--that God will not let him be fooled into thinking something else can satisfy him.

This is not often my prayer, though it should be. I write it here hoping that this will somehow begin to solidify in my mind. I wonder what would happen in my life if I woke up every morning and prayed that prayer...

By His Grace,

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