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Joy and Having Everything

Pleasures are severely limited in duration. Not only do they last for a given length of time, but if one makes and attempt to extend them unduly, they issue in satiety and disgust. Too much ice cream at one time leads not only to eventual illness; it can lead to a dislike at the moment itself. Joy on the other hand tends to perdure, and the deeper it is the longer it lasts. The deepest joy last forever: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4). It begins on earth and lives through eternity. It never leads to satiety or to disgust. One cannot experience too much truth or love or beauty. And of course joy never leads to illness. On the contrary, the more joy, the greater is one’s health as a person.

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Poverty of fact and of spirit contributes to the radical self-emptying that is a condition for this fullness of prayer and joy: “Having nothing, possessing all things” (2 Cor 6:10). God forces himself on no one. If I cling to things, he lets me have my things. If I am empty of things, he fills me with himself. Paul can assure us that our eyes have not seen and our ears have not heard—indeed, we cannot even imagine—what God has in store for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9). The poor are indeed happy. They have Everything.

—from Happy are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom by Fr. Thomas DuBay, Ch. 15: Happy Are You Poor

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