Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pain, pleasure and joy...

Life in this world is full of pain. But pain, which is the contrary of pleasure, is not necessarily the contrary of happiness or joy. Because spiritual joy flowers in the full expansion of freedom that reaches out without obstacle to its supreme object, fulfilling itself in the perfect activity of disinterested love for which it was created...

True joy is found... in the intense and supple and free movement of our will rejoicing in what is good not merely for us but in Itself.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, New Directions Books, 1961, Shambhala Publications Inc., 2004, p. 259

I have found this to be true. As I've explained elsewhere here, things have at times have been very painful, and often bleak, over the last year and a bit. Yet joy has never, not for an instant, abandoned me. Oh, there have been times when I have abandoned joy; but that's a different matter altogether, one addressed by the Psalmist:

I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

(Psalm 119: 174-176, NIV)