An Advent Journey with Pope Francis and Evangelii Gaudium, Part 1
There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. (Evangelii Gaudium, 6.)
Pope Francis has a gift for analogies, bringing clarity to his message with simple imagery. Of course, the fullness of Lent is lived as a preparation for the Easter mysteries. We cannot enter fully into the Paschal mysteries without first journeying through the solemn process of Lenten disciplines. But, none of us wants to hang around too long with someone who gets stuck in a Lenten mode!
We all experience moments when the sorrows of life bury all hope for joy, and Francis acknowledges this, “I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering.” And yet, he maintains that “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.”
A quiet yet firm trust. Perhaps this is the key. True joy goes beyond a raucous, back-slapping joviality. People who radiate this kind of joy are true energy givers. No, their lives are no easier than ours. Sometimes they are harder. But, these good souls seem to have inner resources that help them to raise a half empty glass in a heartfelt toast of thanksgiving for the goodness it does hold. We want to be around these folks, for their optimism and peaceful contentment is balm for the soul amid our worries and anxieties.