The Saints Were Not Miserable
Look at our pope, whose namesake is Francis; his very countenance radiates kindness and joy even as he bears the burden of shepherding the world’s Catholics and a grueling schedule as the pontiff. Some traditional Catholics disapprove of our joyful pope and seem irritated by his very demeanor; perhaps they embody the church besieged while Pope Francis embodies the spirituality of the gospels and the patristic fathers. It is clear, though, that God is using Pope Francis to challenge present day Catholics to rediscover their roots and live daily in the Resurrection and Pentecost, not just the suffering of the Passion.
Joy cannot be held at heel: it must be let go. Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on the path of life, that walks with Jesus: preaching, proclaiming Jesus, proclaiming joy, lengthens and widens that path. Pope Francis
Cognitive Therapy: All About Choice
Christian cognitive therapy has a little more punch to it. At the suggestion of a priest. I read a list every day for a year renouncing ingrained lies from my childhood which were like chains around my neck and proclaiming the truth by quoting corresponding verses from Holy Scripture which countered each lie. After a year, the resulting freedom seemed miraculous.
Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.
What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.
No matter the hardships and trials we experience in this life on earth, we can choose to abandon a solitary, grim existence and embrace the indwelling presence of Holy Spirit, our Paraclete, Advocate, Consoler, Comforter, and Intercessor. Christ promised to not leave us orphaned.
“I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.” (John 15:11)
More Than Laughter
The Holy Spirit transforms and renews us, creates harmony and unity, and gives us courage and joy for mission. Pope Francis
Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. Pope Francis
Pope Francis has summed up the reasons we are called to live joyfully as Catholics in his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Joy of the Gospel. He opens the document:
The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
Let’s read Joy of the Gospel, then take up the pope’s challenge to celebrate in, with, and through the Lord.
Footnote- a commentator on LinkedIn just sent me a wonderful example of a life lived in holy joy.
Sister Maria Cecilia went to heaven after a hard fight against cancer. Thousands have shared on social networks images of her agony , a time in which she never lost peace or joy. She graduated as a nurse and the 26 -year-old made her first vows as a Discalced Carmelite in 2003 made her perpetual profession. Six months ago she was diagnosed with tongue cancer and the disease had lung metastases. She died on Wednesday, June 22 at dawn. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord.