Delight in the Lord is a principle and a virtue clearly lauded all over the Scriptures. But searching through Holy Writ for references to my delight in Him instead directs me to reminders of His delight in me.
This delight, of our God in His people, is usually demonstrated, at least in the Old Testament, by some sort of physically measurable gift: prosperity, victory in battle, kingship, good crops, etc. When God delights in us, He shows us His favor.
Yet he delights in our prayers, our humility, our interior sacrifices - in short, He delights in our gifts of love from ourselves to Him. (He then shows this delight by giving of Himself and His own to us.)
Shelve this train of thought for a moment. We'll come back to it.
Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God. Thus each of us shines with the love of God. The more we are in tune with God, the more of His love we give to others and receive from others.
Shelve this thought right next to the other one.
Delight is a strong word. There's a big difference between "You make me laugh" and "Your humor delights me." Even greater is the gulf between either of these and "I delight in your humor" (or, even further removed, "I delight in you").
Can you imagine that? If a friend came over and told you, "I just delight in you, in your person: your quirks, your humor, your intelligence, your passions..." (Naturally, this would have to be someone who knows you well enough to have a sense of these things, otherwise it'd just be creepy, and that's not what we're discussing here.): Does that make your skin prickle? Does it feel just a bit intrusive? Just plain weird?
Why? True delight is based in generous love. When one perceives the goodness of God incarnated in another person, words like joy and appreciation are often simply inadequate to relay the depth of heartwarming love experienced. Agape needs no excuses.
I am sure I will someday delight greatly in my children, much more than I can currently conceive possible. In the meantime, Our Lord has blessed me with a jovial temperament and true delight in many, many people. As I am a young single woman, these people fall into four categories: family, female friends/acquaintances, male friends/acquaintances, and people I know from afar (this runs the gamut from that priest at the parish whom I've never met outside of Mass to that professional musician whom I consider to be a genius).
Family is family, and it doesn't feel voyeuristic to admire a stranger from afar (well, usually). Women are used to complimenting women (catty competition aside). There's even a certain degree of security in my friendships with married men, because I'm also friends with their wives (though these can still be precarious). When these extraordinary affections get most tricky is when it's with those single men whose mere presence brings me such delight.
This has happened to me more times than I can easily count: I experience such great love and appreciation for a man with whom I interact regularly... You've seen it coming: it's very difficult to delight in a man without succumbing to the pressure to develop a false crush on him. It becomes much easier when one of us secures our vocation in some way (e.g., enters a relationship or seminary), because then the ambiguity disappears.
But why the pressure of compliment? Why is it so threatening for me to communicate to a man that my delight is not only in his humor or his brains or his way of telling stories or his fashion sense? That it's more holistic than that: that everything about him fills me with holy joy simply because Our Lord saw fit to create such a wonderful creature?
But sometimes such bare honesty is inappropriate to the relationship between two people. Sometimes true charity requires that you withhold verbal expression of the depth of your delight. Though neither agape nor philia need eros, they both can be easily confused by the thought (the fear?) of the presence of their more passionate sibling.
Right now, I think I'll show that love by beseeching Our Lord to send His favor upon those who fill me with such true delight. That, and by laughing at their jokes.
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