Joy of all who sorrow
by Peter Mavrommatis on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 9:58pm
Many things happen in our lives that take away a most valuable gift, that of happiness. For this reason, contrary to the beliefs and perversions of those who put on airs of mourning and sadness, as if these are 'virtues', we request from the All-Holy Theotokos in the Supplicatory Canon (Παράκλησις), and through her to the Lord Himself,
Χαρᾶς μου τὴν καρδίαν, πλήρωσον, Παρθένε, ἡ τῆς χαρᾶς δεξαμένη τὸ πλήρωμα... (Fill my heart with gladness, Most holy Virgin lady, for you are she who received the abundant joy...)
The Holy Hymnographer makes further reference to the need for joy in one’s life singing,
τῆς ἀθυμίας τὴν ζάλην, διασκεδάσαι μου... (Disperse the storm of my grief, and the soul's most inward confusion...).
We therefore pray that we are delivered from any sadness. Because profound sorrow is not only undesired but the extreme opposite of how we ought to live, we pray again,
Ῥοήν μου τῶν δακρύων, μὴ ἀποποιήσῃς, ἡ τὸν παντὸς ἐκ προσώπου πᾶν δάκρυον, ἀφῃρηκότα... (Do not reject the streams of my many tears, Holy Virgin; for you gave birth to the One who dried all the tears, from all the faces of people...).
Ἔμπλησον, Ἁγνή, εὐφροσύνης τὴν καρδίαν μου, τὴν σὴν ἀκήρατον διδοῦσα χαράν, τῆς εὐφροσύνης, ἡ γεννήσασα τὸν αἴτιον. (Pure one, fill my heart with happiness; bestow on me your spotless joy, for you have given birth to Him Who is the cause of joy.)Joy is therefore not only seen as a valuable but is a necessary element of the life in Christ. Those who expect, want or present a morose attitude have simply misunderstood the Christian spirit which is one of joy and gladness – “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10), while Christ Himself prays on our behalf to the Father “that we may have My joy fulfilled in ourselves” (cf John 17:13).
The misunderstanding that exists is likely a result of identifying joy with sin and so many assume that Christ preaches against joy.
The Paraclesis however identifies joy with virtue and sin with sorrow.
Sadness is caused by spiritual trouble, while happiness presupposes the abandonment of sin -
Ἱκετεύω, Παρθένε, τὸν ψυχικὸν τάραχον, καὶ τῆς ἀθυμίας τὴν ζάλην, διασκεδάσαι μου... (I entreat you, O Virgin, disperse the storm of my grief, and the soul's most inward confusion, scatter it far from me...)We see again, that joy and sin cannot co-exist:
- Χαρᾶς μου τὴν καρδίαν, πλήρωσον, Παρθένε, ἡ τῆς χαρᾶς δεξαμένη τὸ πλήρωμα, τῆς ἁμαρτίας τὴν λύπην, ἐξαφανίσασα. ... (Fill my heart with gladness, most holy Virgin lady, for you are she who received the abundant joy; take the grief of my sinfulness, and make it disappear.)Consequently, irreproachable or perfect entertainment is not against the spirit of Christ.