Nobody is happy on earth until he decides not to be. This is the way the path goes: suffering — in Christian terms! — the Cross; God’s Will, Love; happiness here and, afterwards, eternally.
Servite Domino in laetitia! — I will serve God cheerfully. With a cheerfulness that is a consequence of my Faith, of my Hope and of my Love — and that will last for ever. For, as the Apostle assures us, Dominus prope est!… — the Lord follows me closely. I shall walk with Him, therefore, quite confidently, for the Lord is my Father, and with his help I shall fulfil his most lovable Will, even if I find it hard.
A piece of advice I have insisted on repeatedly: be cheerful, always cheerful. —Sadness is for those who do not consider themselves to be children of God.
I am trying to spare myself nothing, to help my younger brothers ‘tread softly’ as you asked us. There are so many joys to be found in ‘having it tough’.
Another man of faith wrote to me: “When you have to be on your own, you can notice clearly the help of your brothers. Now, when it comes to my mind that I have to put up with everything ‘all alone’, I often think that, if it weren’t for that ‘company we keep from afar’ — the holy Communion of Saints! — I would not be able to preserve this optimism which fills my heart.”
Don’t forget that sometimes one needs to have smiling faces around.
“You are all so cheerful, and one doesn’t expect that,” I heard someone say.
It has been happening for a long time; insistently and with diabolical determination, Christ’s enemies never tire of complaining that the people who give themselves to God are all sullen. And, unfortunately, some of those who wish to be ‘good’ have lent support to those words, with their ‘sad virtues’.
—We give you thanks, Lord, because you have chosen to count on our cheerful, very happy lives to erase that false caricature.
—I also ask You that we may not forget it.
May no one read sadness or sorrow in your face, when you spread in the world around you the sweet aroma of your sacrifice: the children of God should always be sowers of peace and joy.
The cheerfulness of a man of God, of a woman of God, has to overflow: it has to be calm, contagious, attractive…; in a few words, it has to be so supernatural, and natural, so infectious that it may bring others to follow Christian ways.
“Happy?” —The question made me think.
—Words have not yet been invented to express all that we feel — in the heart and in the will — when we know ourselves to be children of God.
Christmas time. You write: “Together with the holy expectation of Mary and Joseph, I also impatiently await the Child. How happy I shall feel at Bethlehem! I have a feeling that I won’t be able to contain this joy without bounds. Yes! but, with Him, I also want to be born anew.”
—I hope you really mean what you say!
A sincere resolution: to make the way lovable for others and easy, since life brings enough bitterness with it already.
What a wonderful thing to convert unbelievers, to gain souls!…
—Well, it is as pleasing, and even more pleasing to God, to avoid their being lost.
Once again you had gone back to your old follies!… And afterwards, when you returned, you didn’t feel very cheerful, because you lacked humility.
It seems as if you obstinately refuse to learn from the second part of the parable of the prodigal son, and you still feel attached to the wretched happiness of the pig-swill. With your pride wounded by your weakness, you have not made up your mind to ask for pardon, and you have not realised that, if you humble yourself, the joyful welcome of your Father God awaits you, with a feast to mark your return and your new beginning.
It is true: we are worth nothing, we are nothing, we can do nothing, we have nothing. And, at the same time, in the middle of our daily struggle, obstacles and temptations are not lacking. But the joy of your brothers will banish all difficulties, as soon as you are back with them, because you will see them firmly relying on Him: Quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea — because you, Lord, are our strength.
The scene of the parable is being repeated: it is the same as with those people who were invited to the wedding feast. Some are afraid, others have their own concerns, many… make up stories or give silly excuses.
They put up resistance. That is why they feel the way they do: fed up, all in a muddle, listless, bored, bitter. And yet how easy it is to accept the divine invitation at every moment, and live a happy life, full of joy!
It is all too easy to say: “I’m useless; nothing turns out right for me — for us.”
—Apart from not being true, that pessimism masks a great deal of laziness. There are things you do well, and things you do badly. Fill yourself with joy and with hope on account of the former; and face up to the latter — without losing heart — to put things right; and they will work out.
“Father, following your advice, I laugh at my weaknesses — without forgetting that I can’t give in — and then I feel much happier.
But when I am silly enough to become sad, it seems to me that I am losing the way.”
You asked me if I had a cross to bear. And I answered, “Yes, we always have to bear the Cross.” —But it is a glorious Cross, a divine seal, the authentic guarantee of our being children of God. That is why we always walk along happily with the Cross.
You feel happier. But this time it is a fidgety sort of happiness, a bit impatient. With it comes the clear feeling that something is being wrested from you as a sacrifice.
Listen to me carefully: here on earth there is no perfect happiness. That is why, now, immediately, without complaining or feeling a victim, you should offer yourself as an oblation to God, with total and absolute self-surrender.
You are enjoying a few days of great happiness, and your soul is filled with light and colour. And, curiously, the reasons for your joy are the same ones that at other times disheartened you!
It is always the same: it all depends on the point of view. Laetetur cor quaerentium Dominum! — when you seek the Lord, your heart always overflows with happiness.
There are men who have no faith, who are sad and hesitant because of the emptiness of their existence, and exposed like weathercocks to “changeable” circumstances. How different that is from our trusting life as Christians, which is joyful, firm and solid, because we know and are absolutely convinced of our supernatural destiny!
You are not happy because you make everything revolve around yourself as if you were always the centre: you have a stomach-ache, or you are tired, or they have said this or that…
—Have you ever tried thinking about Him, and through Him, about others?
Miles — soldier — so the Apostle calls a Christian.
So it is that in this holy and Christian war of love and peace for the happiness of all souls, there are, in God’s ranks, tired, hungry soldiers, covered in wounds… but happy. For they bear in their hearts the sure light of victory.
“I am sending you, Father, the resolution always to smile: a heart that is jubilant, even if it be mauled.”
—I think it is a splendid resolution. I pray that you may keep it.
Sometimes you feel that you are beginning to lose heart and that everything is getting on top of you. This kills your good desires, and you can hardly manage to overcome this feeling even by making acts of hope… —Never mind: this is a good time to ask God for more grace. Then, go on! Renew your joy for the struggle, even though you might lose the odd skirmish.
You don’t feel like doing anything and there is nothing you look forward to. It is like a dark cloud. Showers of sadness fell, and you experienced a strong sensation of being hemmed in. And, to crown it all, a despondency set in, which grew out of a more or less objective fact: you have been struggling for so many years…, and you are still so far behind, so far.
All this is necessary, and God has things in hand. To attain gaudium cum pace — true peace and joy — we have to add to the conviction of our divine filiation, which fills us with optimism, the acknowledgement of our own personal weakness.
You have become younger! You notice, in fact, that getting to know God better has made you regain in a short time the uncomplicated and happy age of your youth, including the security and joy — without any childishness — of spiritual childhood… You look around, and you realise that the same thing has happened to others: the years since they met with the Lord have gone by and, having reached maturity, they are strengthened with a permanent youth and happiness. They don’t look young. They are young and cheerful!
This reality of the interior life, attracts, confirms and wins over souls. Give thanks for it daily ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem — to God who fills your youth with joy.
You do not lack God’s grace. Therefore, if you respond to it, you will be sure to win.
Victory depends on you: your strength and drive — together with that grace — are reason enough for you to have the optimism of one who knows victory is assured.
Perhaps yesterday you were one of those people whose ideals have gone sour, who are defrauded in their human ambitions. Today, now that God has entered into your life — thank you, my God! — you laugh and sing and carry your smile, your Love and your happiness wherever you go.
There are many who feel unhappy, just because they have too much of everything. —Christians, if they really behave as God’s children, will suffer discomfort, heat, tiredness, cold… But they will never lack joy, because that — all that! — is ordained or permitted by Him who is the source of true happiness.
Faced by all those men without faith, without hope; by minds desperately near the borders of anguish, seeking for a meaning in their life, you found your purpose: Him!
This discovery will permanently inject a new happiness into your existence, it will transform you, and present you with an immense daily hoard of beautiful things of which you were unaware, and which show you the joyful expanse of that broad path that leads you to God.
Your happiness on earth is identified with your fidelity to faith, to purity and to the way God has marked out for you.
Give thanks to God that you are happy, with a deep joy which has no need to be noisy.
With God, I thought, every day seems more attractive. I can see “little bits” at a time. One day I notice some wonderful detail; on another, I discover a sight I had not seen before… At this rate, it is impossible to say what will happen next.
Then, I noticed that He was reassuring me: “Your happiness will grow greater every day, for you will be drawn deeper and deeper into that divine adventure, into that great ‘complication’ with which you have become involved. And you will realise that I will never abandon you.”
Happiness is a consequence of self-surrender. It is re-affirmed every time you turn the water-wheel.
What changeless joy you feel after having given yourself to God! But you must feel a great concern and desire for everyone to share in your joy!
All the things that are now worrying you can be solved by making an effort to smile for love of God.
Optimism? Yes, always! Even when things seem to turn out badly: perhaps that is the time to break into a song, with a Gloria, because you have sought refuge in Him, and nothing but good can come to you from Him.
Hope does not mean beginning to see the light, but trusting with one’s eyes closed that the Lord possesses the light fully, and lives in its clarity. He is the Light.
Every Christian has the duty to bring peace and joy to his own surroundings on earth. This cheerful crusade of manliness will move even shrivelled or rotten hearts, and raise them to God.
If you cut any hint of envy out at the roots, and if you sincerely rejoice in other people’s success, you will not lose your joy.
That friend of mine came up to me: “They tell me you are in love.” —I was very surprised and the only thing I could think to ask was where he got that news.
He said that he could read it in my eyes, which shone with joy.
What must the cheerful way that Jesus looked upon people have been like? It must have been the same which shone from the eyes of his Mother who could not contain her joy — Magnificat anima mea Dominum! — and her soul glorified the Lord while she carried Him within her and by her side.
Oh, Mother!: May we, like you, rejoice to be with Him and to hold Him.