The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finding Joy, Even When It Hurts: Good News From Christianity

A little help when it hurts ...

To find joy, even when you are in physical and/or emotional pain and turmoil, the author of Heaven and Mirth, James Martin, SJ (pp. 176-178), recommends turning to St. Ignatius Loyola's 5-step "animation of conscience" prayer. The whole prayer journey hinges on the certain belief that true joy always and eternally stems from God. Keeping your relationship with God front and center in your life will allow you to find your joy, comfort, and solace ... even when it hurts. Let the prayer begin ...

  1. Gratitude: recall those things that happened during the day for which you may be grateful (I know you're hurting, I know it's hard, but you can do it). Simple, small things are fine: a kind word from a colleague, friend, or family member, a child's smile or laugh, some objective completed, a good meal, a walk in the warm sunshine, anything and everything you can think up. Linger over these items and feel a little bit a gratitude start to glow deep down in your hurting heart. As Martin states, "nothing connects us to God more quickly than orienting ourselves toward those things for which we are grateful."  
  2. God's presence: mull over the day's events and discover where God was present in your life. You probably overlooked that in your busy day. It is much easier to see God's hand in things after the events of the day, when things are calmer. 
  3. Grace: be bold and ask for the grace to see where and when you may have sinned by turning away from God during your day. Go ahead. Don't get defensive. Relax. It happens ... and God knows it. So should you. It'll help. 
  4. Forgiveness: Be bolder still and sincerely ask for forgiveness for any sins committed during the day. You may want to follow us with the even bolder reconciliation with a friend, coworker, family member, or neighbor slighted if you have committed some wrong against them (best to be quick as small wrongs grow in the mind of yourself and the one you wronged if allowed to grow). 
  5. Grace again: Finally, be very bold and ask for the grace to see more clearly where God is at work in your life tomorrow. 
The secret to this 5-step prayer is the creation and cultivation of a sense of gratitude in our lives for the gifts God has already given us. Through this, even when it hurts, we can reconnect with, as Martin beautifully states, "...a believing joy. Gratitude reminds us of the underlying joy in our lives."

The following posts may also help:, and

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