True Joy

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.


Anonymous said…
With all due respect to St. Francis...
No true joy in converting all the infidels and healing the sick and working many miracles--in letting God work through you in the work that He desires--
and yet, true joy is found in simply being patient and thus feeling a deep sense of (self) virtue and soundness of soul?

Patience may be self-control at its finest, but sometimes (or most often) it's best if God has else can He work through us?
Anonymous said…
I am amazed at the impact "control" is having on this blog. I believe it is a message we should all heed.
Anonymous said…
The lesson I found most profound in this post was that the man could find pure true joy even with rejection by the so-called good men. He did not need acceptance (which is worth what?) to know true joy.
"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!" John
Francisco1003 said…
In reference to the first comment, it is obvious that St. Francis understood that " converting all infidels " neither did it imply True Joy nor True Christian Teachings, the phrase along with the rest of the examples is used as for rhetorical value... MAKING THESE POINTS EXTREMES... And yet finding not True Joy, " For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. " - St. Francis of Assisi

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