“Gladness of heart is the very life of man, cheerfulness prolongs his days.” (Sirach 30:22)
“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 42:10)
Do you know who these quotes address? Each of us: you and me. Each one has been created as God’s masterpiece, treasured by Our loving Father. Are you always aware of this? I know I’m not. But when I am, both day and night take on a different quality. Somehow, it seems as if the sun is shining and I feel in love again.
If each of us could simply be aware of the truth that The Father loves me as an individual as I am, not as I should be, life would take on a fresh meaning. Nobody is as they should be, until eternity, when Our Loving Father has completed His art work in us. We must just give up perfect. It doesn’t exist anyway?
In most New Testament translations we are told to be “perfect” as is our heavenly Father. The Aramaic word Christ used should be more accurately translated as “compassionate.” This we can always strive for: “to be compassionate as Our Father is compassionate.” Christ showed us how to do this when He was here on Earth. We just need to do as He did.
At Christ’s Baptism and Transfiguration, the Father wanted to let Him know that He was precious and loved and a delight to the Father. Christ, as man, needed this verification. He needed to know, in His humanity, that He was a masterpiece of His Father’s creation, and as such deeply cherished. As He believed this and “went about doing good,” His gladness of heart gave Him the necessary energy to quietly put a new song in His heart each day for His Father. Often, He had to go apart and get out of the crowd just to be quiet and remember this truth– especially when the Scribes and Pharisees heckled Him about His living message of love.
Each of us needs this affirmation, too. When I think about how much the Father loves me just as I am, that truth gladdens my heart. It does prolong my days and makes them go smoother. Then, instead of letting something in today to plague me with negative thoughts and feelings, I am more able to “sing to the Lord a new song”…even if I’m a little off-key. The gladness-song can take over my day today. It’s a song that fits only today like a new melody never before sung. Tomorrow, as I remember how much my Father loves me, just as I am, not as I should be, I’ll create fresh music for that day.
When Christ heard the Father’s words telling Him how much He was loved and delighted in, His whole being must have burst with joy. The sun shone more brightly and a fresh depth of love lit Christ’s face with a smile and a luminosity that awed those witnessing the truth of what He felt. He was the happiest person who ever lived, even though He was the one who suffered the most. He didn’t dwell on the pain, suffering and rejection; He witnessed love constantly through His actions and made people happy with that warm smile His Father had given Him. He did this all because He believed He was loved by His Father, and wanted us to know and believe that we are too. He kept trying to get this message to all who would listen, and His whole being sang a new song even if only one person listened, became aware of the Father’s unconditional love, and began to live and love accordingly: a Mary Magdalene, a Good Thief, one of His Apostles, a small child He held.
The Jesuit priest, theologian, scientist, and educator, Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, once reflected:
Throughout my life, by means of my life, the world has little by little caught fire [with Christ’s love] in my sight until, aflame all around me, it has become almost completely luminous [with Christ] from within. We humans are not separate from this planet nor from anything on it; we need to uplift everyone and everything on or in it [with Christ’s love].
Think about it. How could this reflection on being aware of the Father’s unconditional love for you help you to live with more gladness, and so to create a new song in your heart each new day, even through cold and rainy ones?