Editors Note: All of our Brothers in the Kenyan Region are on their annual retreat this week (31 July – 4 August 2017) at St. Patrick’s Kabula Retreat House. The retreat is animated by Fr. Santulino Ekada, OCD. Each day, one Brother is providing his reflections on the program.
By Brother Stephen Obara Oketch
Each and every one of us is living a life where we expect to have happiness. That is why we are struggling to choose our vocations and also to nurture them. Religious life is also a vocation which needs to be nurtured so that we may have joys and happiness. The joy that we are yearning for is the interior peace that leads to exterior happiness. It means that we cannot express joy if it is not planted in us by God Himself. Therefore, God is supreme source of our joy. As religious men we are called upon to recognise the presence of God among us, who is the source of happiness. As missionaries who always copy the examples of the disciples and our Founder, happiness should be in us so that we impress Christ and attract others to God. True Joy makes us carefree and never careless. This is the Joy that permits us to offer a generous service to the people. A genuine Joy should be realistic, responsible, prudence and reasonable. We should not pretend that we are happy but our Joy should be real from our hearts.
God is the main source of our Joy in the following ways.
Through convictions we have that God loves us. The presence of the love of God in us invokes the spirit of happiness. Therefore the love of God causes Joy in our lives. Through God’s unconditional love which dwells within us through the gift of sanctifying grace by the sacrament of Baptism. We receive the Holy Eucharist during baptism which serves as source of happiness in our Christian life. Through Trusting and hoping in divine providence. God is the provider of everything, therefore we can find our joy when we totally put our trust and hope in his providence. Through Prayer. We find our joy when we present our anxieties, sorrows and worries to God through prayers.
In the process of finding joy, it has been realised that some aspects may take away that joy from us. Some of these aspects are: Self-pity this occurs during the time of crisis and therefore one become the centre of his/her problems. It takes away the happiness because one is fighting alone. Worry is another aspect which take control over us till we lose trust in God who is the source of Joy. Heresy that our happiness depends on someone or on something outside ourselves. We are warned that our joy doesn’t depend on promotions, recognitions or the fame that we may gain from people, but comes from within our hearts which is planted by God Himself.
In conclusion, our happiness should be manifested in our communities, congregation, in the church, and among the people that we serve.