Monday, March 31, 2014

The importance of cheerfulness

"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life; therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits." - Saint Philip of Neri

When things go wrong, that’s the time to be more cheerful. When things go right, of course we are cheerful. When nerves are getting frayed, that’s the time to smile.

The practice of spiritual disciplines has a very useful purpose: they can make us so secure, so firmly rooted in our deepest Self that not only can we go and live in the midst of people who are difficult with cheerfulness and equanimity, we can even learn to change them for the better.

Even if you have a bad day in the office, or a very busy day on the campus, that’s no cause for your courtesy to fail, for your consideration to fail.

I knew a little girl of three or four who was usually very nice to me. Then suddenly one afternoon she was looking at me like a storm cloud. I asked, “What’s the matter?” and she replied, “You better watch out: I haven’t had my nap.”

Now imagine grown-up people coming home in the evening and telling everyone, “Don’t bother me. I haven’t had my nap.”

It is one of the hallmarks of the spiritually aware man or woman that they will always be cheerful, not because they don’t feel deeply, but because they do feel deeply.