Choosing Joy by Henri Nouwen

Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.

What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.

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“When you find yourself greatly distracted and devoid of devotion due to countless devil-inspired thoughts or because of your own heart’s bitter passions or are disturbed by the unpleasantness of others, seek out a quiet place and recollect yourself, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation [Hail Mary]. Kneel down alone before the Holy Cross or a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary or some saint’s revered image—made to the honor of God and in that saint’s memory. Especially ask mercy of Jesus and of Mary, of the angelic host, and of the entire heavenly court, that the grace of divine consolation be again granted to you. Then from the Psalms say with holy David: ‘Lord, all my longing is known to You, and my sighing is not hidden from You’. You have been my hope, Lord, ever since my youth; I now turn to You in this time of trial.”

— Thomas à Kempis, Bountiful Goodness

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Lord, thank you for each person you have given me to love. Help me love them as you love them.
—Joel Schorn

-from Woman of Strength

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