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Saint Philip Neri once said, “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.” This sentiment is echoed in the teachings of Pope Francis, who also believes that Christians should be marked by joy.
Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical, “Joy of the Gospel,” of the need to retain that mark of joy in all that we do.
“There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. 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. I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress: ‘My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is… But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness… It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord’ (Lam 3:17, 21-23, 26). “
This is an especially perfect meditation for the season of Easter, a time when we are called to be joyful! It is not a somber season in the Church, but one full of life and beauty.
As we go forth as “Easter Christians,” let us remember to be joyful and rejoice in the Resurrection of our Lord!
- Philip Kosloski
Writer and Content Manager
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)