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Joy isn’t living from laugh to laugh, says Francis. Here’s what it really is

POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE
Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.MEDIA
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And the way to get Christian joy is from the Holy Spirit ... and with this practical tip

Joy is what Christians breathe, said Pope Francis today in his morning homily. But it can’t be purchased or forced, and it’s not living from pleasure to pleasure or laugh to laugh.

“The one who puts joy in our hearts is the Holy Spirit,” the pope said, as he reflected on the Gospel account of the rich young man who went away sad.

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 that today’s culture contents itself with fragments of pleasure that never completely satisfy.

Since joy, instead, 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.

Where to get it

While this joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis also gave a practical tip for how to foster it. The key, he said, is memory.

Memory is the solid rock on which the Christian finds joy, the Holy Father said. Remembering “what the Lord has done for us … regenerates us.”

The memory of God’s faithfulness 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.

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