Alvarez: Radiating Joy

HAVE we only found joy in times of happiness or can we also find joy in times of sufferings? When we are faced with a lot of challenges in life, we just don’t find meaning in our lives. We wake up every morning, carrying the hurts and the pains and we fail to listen to ourselves and call the spirit of God to lead us.

We forgot to pray. We lost that touch in God – dialoguing what is in our hearts. We say – where is God, when I needed God the most? The truth is that God is present everywhere. God speaks to us through what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste. We just fail to pay attention, because we only look into the things we want to see.

For the past two and a half days last September 27 to 29, my co-workers at the Ateneo de Davao University had a retreat at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine and Retreat Center in Kidapawan. Our retreat facilitator is the brilliant, Sr. Perry Into, RC of Religious of Cenacle in Cebu, who made us realize who is that “self” that we are carrying right now.

On our first day, we have re-learned that to radiate joy is to be true to ourselves. We have seen how volatile is to live in our complex world. That culture, family dynamics and relationships can put us down. But foremost, we need to remember that the truth about us is that we are chosen, we are blessed and we are broken. Hence, although we suffer and is robbed with joy due to being unloved, betrayal, the death of a loved one, etc. we are still blessed because God has chosen us to be His children. And to be His child is the greatest gift and miracle in this world.

On the following days, Sr. Perry helped us understand two main blocks in achieving and radiating joy. First is the “entitlement mentality.” We become unhappy because we always think about our supposed to be privilege. We become so engrossed on our attitude of viciousness, that if we have done much, we should gain much as well. We have lived a life by doing more, but expecting more for a return.

Second, is the “invulnerability.” We are afraid to show others our weaknesses. We always pretend we are okay, even if we are dying inside. We want people to believe that we cannot fail, that is why we strive so hard to be perfect when we are imperfect. We are humans that are ego-inflated, not our real selves.

The last day of our retreat was the discovery of the power of the heart. The heart can discern, even when the eyes cannot see. The heart can hear, even when the ears cannot hear. The heart is truly instrumental to share to people what’s going on in us. And that the purest form of honesty is to bring out our deepest thoughts and express our innermost feelings from the heart. Doing this is so natural and meaningful.

So, let us feel our hearts and continue to love, even when there’s no guarantee. Practice joy, even in moments of terror. And most of all, say to yourself again and again “I am enough.” Always be gentle with yourselves. That’s the secret of radiating joy to others!