Rest Stop (Thursday) Humor & Joy

St. Ignatius of Loyola

I know I am a couples days late, but anyways, the other day was the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).  As I was doing some reflection and meditation based on St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises,  I came across a post by Fr. James Martin, SJ with this photo of a statue of St. Ignatius found in the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.  Inscribed are the words St. Ignatius said to his friend St. Francis Xavier when Ignatius missioned him to spread the Gospel across the globe: “Ite, Inflammate Omnia!” Translated it reads: “Go and set the world on fire!”  If you look closely to the left of the statue what do you see?  Yup!  Reality is better than fiction.  The object back there is a fire extinguisher!

Humor and joy in the spiritual life – what a wonderful concept!  Finding humor and joy in life is something I strive for.  I may not always get there on the journey, but I strive for it.  My last couple posts have talked about this concept of joy and wonderment in life.

In a world seemingly full of sadness and pain, finding joy and humor is not easy, but in my mind essential!  Not taking ourselves so seriously, helping others to laugh, and just “doing” for others will help us to see the joy that is meant to be in our daily lives.

Today, let’s spend some time reflecting on this command given to St. Francis Xavier  “Ite, Inflammate Omnia!” and see how it relates to my own life of service to others.  How can I, just today, bring joy to another?  One of my favorite scripture passages is from the Gospel according to Luke 12:49 where Jesus says “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled.”  How can we kindle that fire of love, service and joy for others?  How can I allow others to see the fire burning within me?  How can I let others find joy in themselves?  Keep the flame alive – and an extinguisher close …

 

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3 thoughts on “Rest Stop (Thursday) Humor & Joy

  1. Thanks Chris for another wonderful post. Who doesn’t want to set the world on fire? (I’m sure there are those who don’t but I don’t know them.) And, who couldn’t use a little more joy and humor in his/her life? I find that if I consciously cultivate those qualities in myself that those vibrations effect those around me. I don’t have to do anything other than just be joyous and others are served. How cool is that? So… here’s my big Q for you: Where do you think joy comes from?

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    1. Thank you for your comment! You pose an interesting question, and my easy answer is “from within”. I’ll explain. For me, joy is found in each of us, deep in our core, implanted at our creation. Our lives are meant to be filled with joy, yet we allow ourselves to re-focus our attentions on the negatives. That seems to be our human nature; to tend toward that which is not productive to joy (or inner peace). For me, that joy comes from my spiritual sense of belonging, from relationship. I can only feel true joy when in relationship with my God, self and others. Pope Paul VI, in 1975, wrote “Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy, for joy comes from another source. It is spiritual.” (

        On Christian Joy

      ) For me, and the reason why I interchange the terms “joy” and “inner peace”, is because joy has little to do with emotion and more to do with belief (faith). It is not a fleeting emotion like happiness, rather, it can exist within a person even in light of suffering and pain. Joy does not ignore these in the world, but in a person’s belief in their spiritual relationship, they find a confidence in God. This confidence gives strength, and strength allows a person to action; action geared toward helping others in the service of God can only bring a deep sense of inner joy.

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      1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply Chris. I always like asking people if they are joyful and if so, where is that source of their joy. Sadly, few people are truly joyful but many aspire to have it or find it. At best, I’ve found that many experience moments of happiness but few remain in a constant state of joy. Thanks for sharing!

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