St. Francis of Assisi once explained the meaning of perfect joy to a brother monk:
What is perfect joy? A messenger comes and says that all the masters of Paris have entered the Order, write "not true joy."
Likewise, that all the prelates beyond the Alps, archbishops and bishops; likewise that the King of France and the King of England (have all entered the Order): write, "not true joy."
Likewise, that my friars went among the infidels and converted them all to the faith; likewise that I have from God this grace, that I make the sick healthy and work many miracles: I say to you that in all these things there is not true joy.
But what is true joy?
I return from Perugia and in the dead of night I come here and it is winter time, muddy and what is more, so frigid, that icicles have congealed at the edge of my tunic and they always pierce my shins, and blood comes forth from such wounds.
And entirely (covered) with mud and in the cold and ice, I come to the gate, and after I knock for a long time and call, there comes a friar and he askes: "Who is it?" I respond, "Friar Francis." And he says, "Go away! It is not a decent hour for going about. You will not enter!"
And again he would respond to my insistence, "Go away! You are a simpleton and an idiot! You do not measure up to us. We are so many and such men, that we are not in need of you!"
And I stand again at the gate and I say, "For the love of God take me in this night." And he would respond, "I will not!"
I say to you that if I will have had patience and will not have been upset, that in this is true joy and true virtue and soundness of soul.