Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God

I have a new quote on my desk from French philosopher and priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, that reads:

Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.

(I have Stephen Colbert to thank for bringing it to my attention.)

A couple weeks ago, life was dragging a little bit. I wasn’t unhappy by any stretch of the imagination, but there was a little heaviness to my gait, a little lethargy in my life, and a little less patience with people. Life didn’t seem as full or as vibrant as it normally did.

Reflecting on this at the time, it wasn’t a hard malaise to diagnose: I realized that I had gotten so busy doing things for God that I was neglecting spending time with God. This in turn had an impact on the rhythms of my day–I found myself working later and longer, and allowing the healthy boundaries between work and rest to become fudged–and on top of that, in the midst of my own busyness, I was also neglecting to spend life-giving time with my closest friends.

Joy is not happiness; it is not contingent upon circumstance. Joy is deeper, more rooted, and more connected with the person of God. In John 15, Jesus talked to his disciples about the importance of remaining–“abiding”–in him, and he said:

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

So take a moment to do a life-check: Are you finding–or making–the space in your life to do things that make your heart sing, to spend time with people that give you life, and to rest in and commune with the God whose presence is evidenced by joy?

If not, what are you going to do about it?

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