Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 5
Beloved Holy Spirit, one of the most wonderful gifts that You can make grow in us as fruit is joy! It is that joy which, like love, makes everything easier and overcomes the weight that life so often brings with it. A joy that is contagious, and gives a ray of light and some comfort to the other person, as long as they are not closed.
Your friend, St. Paul, even tells us to rejoice at all times (cf. Phil 4,4)!
Joy, then, is not only a reaction to the reception of pleasant earthly goods or particularly beautiful circumstances that fills our hearts; rather, St. Paul shows it to us as a constant state, a state of mind of the heart, which remains even when circumstances become difficult and the soul tends to be troubled
By this, O Holy Spirit, we cannot then mean that joy which comes and goes and is all too short-term! Nor can it be that mood that comes more from a happy nature of an optimistic mind!
What joy is meant then?
The Scriptures explain this lasting joy:
“I keep Yahweh before me always, for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me. So my heart rejoices, my soul delights, my body too will rest secure.” (Ps 16,8-9)
“If If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.” (Jn 15,10-11)
This joy, which can always remain, therefore, dear Holy Spirit, comes from You. It is a unity with You that bears fruit in the form of joy, and it is the joy of Jesus in our hearts that makes joy complete!
Then, O Holy Spirit, all people who sincerely try to serve God should be filled with joy. This would be very attractive and a wonderful condition for the spreading of the Gospel.
But it is not unusual to see Christians who do not seem to be joyful at all, perhaps even grumpy or not really rejoicing, or who simply succumb to too many moods instead of living continuously in that joy of which Jesus speaks!
Perhaps we feel in the same way! Holy Spirit, normally we should live in joy, for “the joy of Yahweh is your stronghold.” (cf. Neh 8,10)!
What, then, can we do with other feelings that contradict joy, and with certain gloomy moods of our soul? What to do with the inner emptiness that we are tempted to fill with false and unnecessary – in the worst case even sinful – contents?
O Holy Spirit, if we place before You these feelings and moods, You are willing to touch them with Yourself. Therefore, we must learn to perceive them, and to invoke You when they appear. For in invoking You, we are in no way talking to the wind or living in an illusion, to deceive and reassure ourselves. No! The Father together with the Son has sent You to be our light and comfort, our spiritual Master, to whom we can entrust everything. Since You Yourself are God, You know the depths of our soul and You want to penetrate them with Your light. But you do not want to do this without our permission, without our asking you, without our opening our hearts to you and distancing ourselves from these melancholy feelings with our will, in order to turn to the light.
But this is how it will be, and if we have patience we will notice that our gloomy moods will diminish, that we will more quickly distance ourselves from those thoughts that leave us in darkness; then the joy that comes from God will also spread more easily in us! And that, Holy Spirit, is then Your wonderful work in our soul!