a sense of humor is a grace of joy and joy is a dimension of holiness

i am working on the newsletter for the USA-Canada province of Claretians. in the article on our recent general chapter in rome, i have included some of pope francis’ speech to our claretian leadership at their private audience.

this quote from francis to us claretians makes me smile:

“Please do not lose your sense of humor.  Know how to laugh in community, know how to make jokes, and laugh at the jokes told by others. Do not lose your sense of humor. A sense of humor is a grace of joy, and joy is a dimension of holiness.”

joy has been an overarching theme of pope francis these past years. he wrote an apostolic exhortation for us all in the “joy of the gospel” in 2013 ( https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html )

i am glad he reminded us of this essential aspect of our call. joy is needed in our communities, our personal lives and in our world. the Spirit will always remind us when we get off the right path. joy, as gift, is God’s will for us all.

let us pray the final prayer for mary’s intercession from pope francis’ “joy of the gospel”:

Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.
Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.

Obtain for us now a new ardour born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty
may reach every man and woman.

Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.

Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.
Amen. Alleluia!

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