Rejoicing Anyway

If I thought my faith depended on feeling cheerful, I’d be worried.

Since I’m a Catholic, I think faith is willingly and consciously embracing “the whole truth that God has revealed.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 142150)

Faith is easier when my emotions are in sync with my reason. So is acting as if what I believe matters. Emotions can tell me that something needs attention, but “…conscience is a law of the mind….” (Catechism, 17771782)

Believing won’t do much good unless I love God and my neighbor, and see everyone as my neighbor. As Jesus said, it’s “the whole law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:3740)

Feelings and Quirks

I haven’t been feeling all that cheerful lately: hardly surprising since I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in over a week.

The last two nights were as close an approximation as I’ve achieved. Maybe tonight will be better.

The good news is that the family hasn’t had a major medical incident over the last week or so. Stress can help folks experience insomnia. “Help?” Never mind.

I’m still dealing with habits and response patterns developed during decades of depression. That gets me back to faith, feelings, and making sense. Sort of.

Depression, the sort I still deal with, is a disorder; not a choice. There’s a ‘spiritual’ angle to it, but ‘exorcising demon depression’ doesn’t make sense.

Taking care of my health, within reason, does. (November 26, 2017; November 19, 2017; October 8, 2017; May 7, 2017)

Depression isn’t my only psychiatric issue. PTSD has been part of the mix since I was 12. Today’s parents or family doctors often spot signs of autism spectrum long before kids reach their teens.

Add congenital hip dysplasia, and by some standards I’m a mess. (November 19, 2017; March 19, 2017; October 16, 2016)

“Rejoice Always”

This Sunday’s second reading has good advice: more like an instruction, actually.

“Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus….”
(Thessalonians 5:1624)

I quoted the first part in September. (September 24, 2017)

Psalms 118:24 and Philippians 4:4 say that rejoicing is a good idea, too.

I don’t feel like it sometimes. Physical and psychiatric issues could seem like excuses for griping, grousing and grumbling. But I can remember reasons for rejoicing, no matter where my emotions are at the moment.

Living in this wonder-packed universe is near the top of my list. So is the best news humanity’s ever had. God loves each of us, and wants to adopt us. (John 3:17; Ephesians 1:35; Catechism, 52, 1825)

“Pray Without Ceasing”

I’ll probably get back to prayer and all that, but not today. That may wait until I’m more nearly awake.

I can, however, say something about prayer. It’s a gift of grace, and something I can’t do unless I decide it’s worth the effort. (Catechism, 2725)

Prayer is also a battle against attitudes I’ve learned from snags and snares dating from when time did not yet exist. My own shortcomings, too. (Catechism, 391395, 27252728)

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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5 Responses to Rejoicing Anyway

  1. Days when we are down make prayer most difficult to get into. When we are depressed we put prayer aside but praying every day is essential for us in every way.
    Develop a routine.
    Start your day with the the three Hail Marys. Then get out of the house if you have the facility of a local church where you can go first thing in the morning to pray the rosary in front of the tabernacle. Stay for mass if it also available early.
    If you can work towards this you will put depression away easier. And, where a persistent sin causes your mood to drop, pray the three Hail Marys novena to Our Lady of Carmel.
    It’s short, takes almost no time and the sin that afflicts flies from it; for ever. She is truly powerful when trusted. Just as is Her Son – but you know this.

    • Agreed, prayer is important. And the Hail Mary was among the first “Catholic” prayers I learned and started using.

      I don’t expect prayer to end my problems. But I have noticed that it makes them easier to deal with.

      Thanks for taking time to write.

  2. We cannot possibly be cheerful and rejoicing all the time. God gave us a great number of emotions because He knew we would need them at one time or other in our lives. They serve a purpose.

    Had He given us only a selection of emotions of His choosing then He would in effect have created a robot behaving only within the confines of the emotions programmed therein. But in His generosity and love for us, He gave us all emotions, and with them the responsibility to use them/deal with them wisely.

    I am praying for you.

    God bless.

    • Thank you, for taking time to comment and praying.

      And agreed, very much. Expecting to be perpetually cheerful – the emotional state – isn’t reasonable: or possible, most likely. I should have discussed that – – – or put off the whole idea until I was awake.

      That hasn’t quite happened yet, but maybe this will makes sense. Or maybe not.

      I think ‘rejoicing’ can be seen at least two ways.

      It’s among the more cheery emotional states.

      It’s also, I think, something I can decide to do: not feel the emotion, but recognize reasons for rejoicing. I haven’t quite discussed the idea. Not yet. I’ll be adding the topic to my ‘what to write about’ notes.

      I have, however, talked about learning to notice the wonders surrounding us. Also joy, zest, and mud:

  3. I agree Brian. Being cheerful is something that we feel, something that happens to us. Rejoicing is a decision that we make that we will rejoice about something; or maybe not. It is still an emotion, but one that we will it will happen, an emotion that we control by initiating it. As opposed to fear, sadness, anger which are emotions that just happen as a result of external influences.

    I enjoy your writing, even though I don’t always comment.

    God bless.

Thanks for taking time to comment!