Joy & Orthodoxy

Thoughts on joy from G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy:

“Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live.”

And again:

“Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian….The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual….He never concealed his tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight…Yet He concealed something….He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.”

 

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