WHERE DOES JOY come from? I knew a Sunday school student whose conception of joy was that it was a thing made in lumps and kept somewhere in heaven, and that when people prayed for it pieces were somehow let down and fitted into their souls. I am not sure that views as gross and material are not often held by people who ought to be wiser. In reality, joy is as much a matter of cause and effect as pain. No one can get joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.
Joy is a fruit that will not grow
In nature’s barren soil;
All we can boast, till Christ we know,
Is vanity and toil.
But where the Lord hath planted grace,
And made His glories known,
These fruits of heavenly joy and peace
Are found, and there alone.
True happiness is not the honors and pleasures of the body. True happiness is virtue. As many as fight to acquire virtue, to put into practice the commandments of God, these are the truly happy.
—Elder Philotheos Zervakos of Paros (+1980)