By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Referring to the rich young man who sadly walks away from Jesus because he cannot renounce his possessions, Pope Francis said that Christians cannot be like that.
Joy is the Christians’ breath
It is “joy that Christians breath”, he said. Christians express themselves joyfully. Joy cannot be purchased or forced. “No”, the Pope said, “it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The one who puts joy in our hearts is the Holy Spirit”.
Joy, fed by memory, generates hope and peace
Memory is the solid rock on which the Christian finds joy. Remembering “what the Lord has done for us…regenerates us”, the Pope continued. That memory generates hope for what is to come in the future when we will meet the Son of God. Memory and hope allow Christians to live joyfully, and peace is joy lived to its perfection:
Joy does not mean living from laugh to laugh. No, it’s not that. Joy is not entertainment. No, it’s not that. It is something else. Christian joy is peace, peace that is deeply rooted, peace in the heart, the peace that only God can give. This is Christian joy. It is not easy to foster this joy.
Pope Francis lamented the fact that today’s culture contents itself with fragments of pleasure that never satisfy completely. Since joy it is a gift of the Spirit, it vibrates even “in turbulent moments and in the moment of trial”.
There is a healthy restlessness, and there is another which is not healthy – that which seeks security above all, which seeks pleasure above all. The young man in the Gospel was afraid that if he gave up his wealth he would not be happy. Joy, consolation: this is our breath as Christians.