Rejoice always, pray constantly, and in all circumstances give thanks. The Desert Fathers
When in pain physical or psychological it is very difficult to rejoice let alone give thanks. Prayer for freedom from pain would be a natural response and yet that would not be the real prayer from the heart. In happier circumstances rejoicing is natural, prayer may be casual and giving thanks perhaps an afterthought. The emphasis of the quote is on acceptance of the moment as it unfolds with a grateful heart (thanks), humbleness (prayer) and ecstasy (rejoicing) no matter what the moment brings.
At varying times and in varying circumstances each of us spare a few moments to at least briefly reflect on the happenings in our life. This is a very basic style of acceptance of the wonderful moments that make up our life. However, it is only when one makes a conscious effort to accept the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, the ecstasy and the pain; that is when we can truthfully state that we have experienced life and its splendors. It is of course logical to ask why and how one can rejoice when in pain and why one must give thanks for the pain. If there was no pain, how can one ever appreciate the peace and harmony which we otherwise enjoy. There is a reason for pain too and when we offer thanks we acknowledge the wisdom of the almighty in alerting us with pain. A decayed tooth will pain and that is perhaps the only time we consciously and willing go to a dentist. Give thanks to the pain or all the teeth would rot and we would be blissful about it.
There are times when it becomes very difficult to accept pain and giving thanks and rejoicing seem like a person gone insane because of the pain. Someone suffering from a painful illness and suffering for long years would pray for deliverance from the pain and cannot rejoice daily. The family members and well wishers too find it tough to rejoice and give thanks. However one can surely pray for the person. Prayer is the bridge that connects rejoicing and thanks for through prayer we share our joys, our sorrows, our hopes and our faith. So often, when in pain we cry out pitifully ‘why me?’ Sometimes it is near impossible to comprehend the plans of the almighty and hence it is best we thank the almighty for making giving us the strength to bear the pain and rejoice that things could have been worse. It is in prayer that we often discover the courage and the enlightenment to rejoice and give thanks.
Remember: “All prayers are answered if we are willing to admit that sometimes the answer is “no”
- The following words are etched on the tomb stone of a young lad who died at 17 years. Notice the depth and breadth of the word which convey rejoicing, thanks and prayer.
- Being pleasing to God and beloved, he was transferred; lest wickedness chance his understanding or deceit beguile his soul.
- Make a spontaneous prayer every morning and night focusing on the reasons for rejoicing, the happenings for which you want to give thanks and communicating your hopes, fears, sorrows, pain etc.
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