There are many virtues I struggle with. But, perhaps the one I struggle most with is joy. Over the last year, a good friend and I have discussed the importance of joy in following Christ. She has reminded me that we are called to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and to try to imitate Christ in all things and to do so with joy. I am not naturally a joyful person. I am relatively happy, I am mostly content with my life, but I am not filled with joy. Instead I am often filled with anxiety, worry, fear, and insecurity. I try really hard to do as Christ wants me to but I do so with a heavy heart at times. I walk around overwhelmed and bogged down with the stresses in my life.
In my spiritual reading and my prayer time, it has come up lately that I should try to embrace my suffering. Now, I really do understand that in life we must suffer. I see that it is unavoidable, and even that it is redemptive to suffer. Suffering unites us with Christ. I know that, I believe that, but still I have not figured out quite how to embrace it. When life gets difficult, when I am suffering, I cannot seem to rise above it. I endure it surely, but not with joy. I have been told that, in addition to embracing our suffering, we should praise God in everything. In everything!!?!?!? I praise God often when life is going my way. I thank Him for the blessings in my life and for the good things and good times. When life is not much fun though, the last thing I feel capable of doing is praising. I turn to God in my struggles but usually to complain to Him or simply to beg Him to take away the difficulties and make life easy. I never turn to Him in praise when life has gotten me down.
I do really want to grow in virtue. I want to exude Christian joy and peace but it is so hard to do at times. Maybe I should go back to the Catechism and those 4 cardinal virtues…. maybe if I can