Sunday afternoon was a dazzling autumn day in Wisconsin. I enjoyed time spent singing and praying at church, relaxing with my family, handing out Halloween candy to smiling trick-or-treaters, and soaking in the impossibly rich fall colors. As I reflected on my gift-wrapped Sabbath day, however, guilt began to stalk me: My Lord's Day had none of the suffering in it that so many people are enduring around the world right now. How could I dare to enjoy myself so deeply when, for example, thousands of my brothers and sisters in Africa are dying from Ebola?
Just a minute before, I had been soaking up the gratuitous splendor of God; in an instant, I was bitten by grief. And then St. Ignatius smiled patiently at me and uttered one word: consolation. St. Ignatius describes consolation as a movement of the heart, a time when God makes it easy to draw closer to him. On the Loyola Press website, Margaret Silf reminds us what to do with consolation: "Store this moment in your memory to return to when things get tough."
God was lavish with me on Sunday, drawing me close to him through church, music, family, community, and nature. Why would I sabotage his invitation to intimacy, his consolation? I must continue to pray and discern how to help others who suffer, certainly, but the panicky guilt I suddenly felt constricting my heart was a dirty trick. The movement I had noticed all day was joyful consolation; only an enemy would be interested in sucking the gratitude out of me. Once I got that straight, I decided to accept God's gift, gratefully, and to store up the peace for more difficult times that might lie ahead.
Brimming with joy, then, I made this little list of 5 things that make me happy. Maybe they will make you happy too, or remind you of other happy things you've been meaning to thank God for. And now, Things That Make Me Happy:
I'll just quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ:
"Glory be to God for dappled things--"!!
|Kid President's Pep Talk|
One of my godchildren called me Sunday evening to gush about her first date with a man who's already been a close friend for a while. She has been praying about the dating scene at college for quite some time, and this relationship is off to a great start. She and her beau laugh together, go to church together, and encourage one another.
I am thrilled that this lovely goddaughter of mine calls me to share her joy!
Happiness #5: Praying with Silence.
No permission necessary! Share away! We really love helping people pray.)
Now, what makes YOU happy?