Karl Barth on Joy

Karl BarthFor man has joy when there is in his life great or small fulfilment of his conscious or unconscious desires, cravings and strivings, when an event or change occurs or a state is achieved which he can greet and welcome because openly or secretly he had been waiting for it. Man has joy when for once he has reached his goal, or at least one goal. His life as movement in time has led him to a point where it gives him no more trouble but presents and offers himself as a gift, and indeed as a gift of that which he has conceived of, or at least groped after or dreamed of, as genuine life (if not in its totality, at least from a specific standpoint), of that which he has promised himself from life. Life smiles at him, not scornfully and ironically (as it can also do) but with friendliness, not as something unknown but in some sense well-known, because he has always meant it to turn out like this and he can now smile at it for once. Joy is really the simplest form of gratitude. – Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III.4.55.I

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