THE KEYS TO A LIFE OF JOY
H. G. Bishop Moussa
The question that probably looms large in the mind of youth, particularly these days, is: How
can I obtain a stable life of joy that is devoid of hesitation or deficiency? Why do we
sometimes lose the feeling of joy and find we are confined to feelings of pain or remorse, or
to feelings of fear and anxiety?
What are the keys to a life joy?
We can, when we examine the experiences in our life realistically, discover four basic reasons
that deprive us of joy, opposed to which our four basic keys to this blessed life:
1. The Key of Repentance:
You have surely, my young brother, heard a great deal about this key, but you might have
stopped right there.
Have you actually experienced moments in which you humbled yourself at Christ’s feet
declaring your remorse at a sorrowful and sinful past and your determination to lead a holier
Do you not agree with me, dear young brother, that the experience of our lamentable sins is
the essentially discordant note in the harmony of a beautiful life?
There is not one time when my life has gone down the precipice of sin that I have not felt
torn by pain, devastated by remorse, and filled with fear!
If you need scientific proof of the truth that it is sin that makes us lose our peace, the
writings of psychologists attest to this truth. There is a play by the French philosopher,
Sartre, which revolves around the theme of remorse entitled “The Wolves”, these wolves
being the painful pricks of the conscience of the sinful soul.
If we look for a sound way of dealing with the heavy load of remorse which overwhelms us
as a result of a fall, we will only find it in the light of the gospel. The psychological method
may try to calm us, making us feel that everyone sins, and that it is perfectly normal and
commonplace, and that what is required is a stronger will so that we finally overcome this
destructive slavery. The philosophical approach, at least Stare’s for example, advises us to
reject remorse and to revolt against it. This revolution is nothing but the strongest evidence
of its continued presence within us.
The Lord Jesus Christ, however, enlightens our hearts and calls us to Him, saying: “he who
comes to me I will in nowise cast out.” Christianity transforms remorse into repentance, and
the sorrows of sin into the joy of prayer and union with God. Christ opens His loving heart to
the repentant sinner and makes him go home justified.
Christ is ready, dear reader, to forgive all your sinful past and not to remember you sins any
more. All He asks of you is that you be convinced of the terribleness of sin, transgression,
and separation from God and that you return to His Fatherly bosom with a determined heart.
Christ does not only forgive, but He also makes haste to purify the heart until He lifts it above
sin. If we sin, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 Jn. 2: 1).
O what joy there is in the heart of the repentant sinner, and in all of heaven! O what joy fills
the lives of those who return to God with sincerity! Dear reader, if you find that your soul is
sad and disturbed, ask yourself, search and look; there might be a sin you love that is
preventing the inpouring of heavenly joy in your life. Let us spend a few moments examining
ourselves so that we present them to the Lord in sincere repentance and holy promise!
2. The Key of Discovering the Meaning of Life:
The basic scourge behind the problems of the youth of this generation all over the world, is
probably either a feeling that this world is trivial to the point of boredom and contempt, or a
feeling that it is glorious to the point of deifying and worshipping it.
We thus see young people dividing into numerous groups: those who search for life in its
pleasures and riches, and those who shun it in a stultifying morbid passiveness.
Why am I here? This is a question being studied by the philosophers and literary figures of
the age. Since our youth does not get a satisfactory answer to this question, they end in the
pits of immorality, atheism, and a disturbing anxiety.
Life is not meaningless, and existence is not superfluous as some atheistic existentialists and
some modern authors imagine. The existence of grinding tribulations, of bitter pain, or of
unfortunate inequities are not evidence of the meaningless of existence. In the few moments
that we spend by a sick person, we impart to him love and encouragement, and during the
moments spent by a sad person in pain, we support him with our tenderness and our
practical brotherly prayers, as well as during the moments in which we pull a friend out of the
fire of sin and the pit of despair. All these show us that love is the basic solution to the
problem of existence.
We were created as a result of God’s great love. If we travel across a world that is painful, it
is to give us the opportunity to express our love for God and men. There is no greater
evidence of love other than suffering pain for the beloved. The Lord suffered for us and thus
revealed His love for us and, so we have to suffer also for His Name’s sake and for our
oppressed brothers as a expression of our love for Him and for them.
Hence, we discover our mission and the meaning of life and existence: that we serve with all
our hearts and so rejoice and are happy, so that we break out of our selfishness and isolation
to be poured on the altar of love as holy sacrifices of service that unite and glorify humanity.
Let us offer love to each individual who is despised, deprived, deceived, or lost. This is a
fundamental key to our joy and his.
Christ said: If your brother sins, go and tell him about it!
Christ said: Love your enemies!
Christ said: It is more blessed to give than to receive!
3. The Key of Submission:
It is hard for a human to rejoice when he is in the midst of trials and tribulations. But the
Apostle Paul challenges problems saying: “I now rejoice in my sufferings” (Col. 1: 24),
“Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in
distresses, for Christ’s sake” (2 Cor. 12: 10).
When will the Lord open our eyes so that we discover the secret of confident submission and
give up our grinding worries?! Our greatest problems is that our faith in the love of God is
weak , as is our faith that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:
Our real problem is that we let our problems come between us and Christ, and so we do not
see Him beyond them. The image of the face of Love and the work of His powerful right hand
disappear from view. It would be better for us to put Christ between us and the problems,
and so we see them, through Him, as light and simple.
Albert Camus once said: “This life deserves suicide, but I do not prefer this.” But we say to
his likes: “Welcome to pain, as long as we are in the bosom of God and within the embrace
of Christ. Welcome to the fears about our future and to the unknown in life. Everything
radiates with light if we take it with us into the presence of Christ.
O how sweet is confident submission, and how happy is the soul that calmly submits itself
into God’s loving hands, the Great Physician who hurts in order to heal. Let us henceforth
reject all complaining and all powerless submissiveness that is in revolt to God’s will. Let us
accept God’s providence for our lives with joy and love and in an enlightenment that sees
good in everything, even in pain!
4. The Key of an Eternal Outlook:
Voltaire said long ago: “Man is born, suffers, then dies.” Beckett said: “Man emerges from the
darkness of the womb and goes to the darkness of the tomb, traversing the darkness of life.”
And Freud said: “Let us leave heaven to the angels and the birds.”
But let us simple folk tell them with full confidence: “Take from Christ light to show you the
path, for eternity lies before us with all its joys, and heaven with all its glories pulls us toward
it. There is something beyond the grave! El Hakim says about this: “He put eternity in their
hearts, without which man cannot know the meaning of the work that has been done from
the beginning to the end.”
Truly, how did the chaste Potomaine stand before the boiling oil and lose her earthly life with
How did Barbatoa throw herself in front of the devouring fierce animals desiring such a
How did the procession of thirty thousand martyrs travel from Damanhour to Alexandria,
singing hymns of victory on their way to the grave?!
Hence, there is something beyond the grave! There is real existence and real joy!
Your earthly ambitions, my young brother, for what is of the flesh, for material wealth, for
position and prestige, will not give you joy but only anxiety. But the moments of private
prayer in your room and of silent bowing between the hands of God will fill your heart with
light and will show you the way.
Is there a sin that needs repentance?
Is there selfishness that needs giving?
Is there a problem that needs trusting submission?
Is there an earthly attachment that needs to be broken and is there a need to look towards
I leave you now in the hands of God so that you may examine your life and look for the lost
key to joy.
May the Lord be with you spirit.
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