“The end for which we are created invites us to walk a road that is surely sown with a lot of thorns, but it is not sad; through even the sorrow, it is illuminated by joy.” Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati offers these words that exhibit a distinct difference from what the world tells us about happiness and suffering. The world tells us that to be happy, there is to be no suffering. But as Christians, we set happiness and joy apart. Joy is a step further, and enables us to suffer patiently and for the good of all. There is merit in suffering. There is even greater merit in suffering joyfully. Pier Giorgio shows that joy illuminates. Happiness can be fleeting, but joy is like a constant flame, a constant glow that lights the way, even in the midst of suffering. How can we obtain that joy? We give you five ways that can help you fill your day with joy!
Five Ways To Have A Joyful Day
- Get up with the alarm. This may be one of the hardest things to do consistently. We all crave those “five extra minutes.” Most of the time, though, we don’t feel any more rested. We stay in bed too long, and then we are rushing through everything in the morning – our hygiene, our breakfast, our relationship with God, and our relationship and conversation with our family. We only focus on one thing – getting out the door on time. This adds unnecessary stress to our day, and is not a great way to begin. Instead, get up with the alarm. You won’t feel rushed or stressed. You will eat better. This will trickle down into how you interact with others, especially your family. I know that when we get up with the alarm, we have more time to prepare for the day, and we even get to eat breakfast as a family. This is so important. Eating together allows us to be in communion with one another. I once heard that the most sacred place in the home is the table. It is where we share, pray, and imitate what Christ did with his friends and family. Getting up with the alarm sets the tone of the day and gives us the opportunity to become closer with God and our family.
- Say a prayer morning, noon, and night. This one is easy. Say a prayer. Take five minutes to give thanks to God. Ask Him to be your courage, your strength, your guidance. Say a Chaplet of Divine Mercy – it takes five minutes! And you are helping to save souls! We say a morning offering prayer each day with Peter, and we gather as a family to say our nightly prayers. This practice of prayer three times a day centers your day on God. If you find yourself straying from good, or if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, prayer is a great way to bring yourself into God’s presence and be reminded of the good. Prayer gives our day order, focus, and purpose.
- Complete your daily tasks. As Christians, it is our duty to give glory to God through our daily tasks. God has ordained each of us with talents, tasks, and time to complete a specific mission. These may be the duties of a student. It may be the items on your to-do list at work. It may be that pile of dishes in the sink. Use these tasks as a way to give glory to God. Transform them into a prayer. Your physical, mental, and emotional efforts can be united in love with Christ to ease others’ suffering. On top of the spiritual benefits, you will feel better about yourself and your life. I know that when I take time to work on my PhD and see some meaningful progress, I am infinitely more joyful and less stressed out. Completing the tasks God has ordained for us builds the kingdom of God.
- Make the time you spend with others quality time. In our time we are bombarded with distractions. Shopping, entertainment, messages from friends, what “everyone else” is doing. This takes our focus off of God and the people we interact with, and puts it on things. Things that encourage instant gratification. This includes all of the distractions of smartphones. If you are reading this right now and you are physically with somebody else, I encourage you to stop reading, and start loving. Be present. Take time to listen. Truly connect with the people that you are with. In addition to giving complete attention, make sure the activities that you engage in are rewarding. Ask yourself, does this improve my relationship with God? Does it improve my physical, spiritual, and/or emotional well-being? Does this activity encourage relationship with people? Giving others your undivided attention and your quality time shows your respect for the dignity of the person. Quality time is a means to love others and to love ourselves.
- Read about the lives of the Saints. The Saints give us some more insight into the kingdom of Heaven. Their lives, their writings, and their miracles inspire us and act as a sort of spiritual nourishment. It’s so comforting to know that these very real men and women overcame the lure of worldly power, fame, honor, and pleasure. They accomplished incredible feats within their lifetimes, and brought many people (and still do) to Christ. Even reading a quote by your favorite saint can be a much needed boost of confidence, a consolation, and food for the journey. The lives of the Saints give us hope. They are friends in the battle, friends on the hard road, friends that expose us to a greater joy. Reading the Saints daily points us in the direction of Christ.
– M & C