A recent issue of the Angola Herald Republican featured our parish on the same pages as articles about happiness. What a wonderful coincidence! If there is a phrase that symbolizes a Catholic parish under the graces of the Pentecost, it is Pope Francis’ phrase “the joy of the Gospel”. Joy and happiness undergird all our other efforts. Why do we bring our children to be baptized, and why do we invite people to the faith? Because we want to share the happiness!
In his encyclical, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis described the Holy Spirit in this way:
21. The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary joy. The 72 disciples felt it as they returned rejoicing from their mission (cf. Lk 10:17). Jesus felt it when he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father for revealing himself to the poor and the little ones (cf. Lk 10:21). It was felt by the first converts who marveled to hear the apostles preaching on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:6). Joy is a sign that the Gospel has been proclaimed and is bearing fruit.
This is why St. Francis of Assisi – from whom Pope Francis took his name – always said that the friars should be HAPPY. And this deep and inner happiness, Francis said, comes from true and deep humility. He said:
And now, brothers, listen to me. Above all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ grants to his friends, is the gift of overcoming oneself, and accepting willingly, out of love for Christ, all suffering and discomfort. When we accept this, we have true joy. And no one should be excluded from the joy brought by the Lord!
Have a blessed Pentecost!
Friar Bob Showers OFM Conv.