06 May 2021

Perfect Joy

5th Week of Easter (Th)

Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP

St. Dominic Priory, NOLA

We know that charity is the cause of joy and joy is opposed by sorrow (ST II-II.28.1). But what is it to experience “complete joy”? It would seem to follow that complete joy is an effect of complete or perfect charity. God, of course, is perfect charity. And we desire to participate in His charity as a matter of grace. To the degree that we are far from His perfection, our desire for Him is imperfect. “[Our] joy is full, when there remains nothing to be desired” (ST II-II.28.3). Our Lord tells us how we can come to complete joy: “Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love. . .” What obstructs us from keeping his commandments? The demands of disordered desires, desires not properly ordered toward charity, i.e., we desire, we love that which cannot save us. To participate more perfectly in God's love, Jesus teaches us to desire, to love nothing and no one more than God Himself. Complete joy is possible for us only in the Beatific Vision. But while we are here, we can – with God's grace – approach perfection in joy through gratitude and surrender. Give thanks. And give up what cannot save. 

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